Members of the Halifax Mooseheads won two trophies at the Canadian Hockey League awards ceremony on Saturday, but the title they really want is still one victory away.
Mooseheads forward Jonathan Douin was named the 2012-13 CHL player of the year, while head coach Dominique Ducharme took home coach of the year honours.
While both appreciated the recognition for a great season as Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions, their focus quickly shifted to Sunday’s MasterCard Memorial Cup final against the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.
“The trophy I want is (on Sunday),” said Drouin, who had 41 goals and 64 assists in 49 games this season and is the No. 3 ranked North American skater ahead of next month’s NHL draft. “That was our goal from the beginning of the year — winning the Memorial Cup.”
Drouin was quick to note that winning an award like player of the year includes a lot of help from others.
“There’s a lot of good things (involved),” he said. “I didn’t do it all myself. The coaching is part of it, the linemates are part of it so it’s just a great year for everyone.”
Ducharme was named as the CHL’s top coach after leading the Mooseheads to a 58-6-4 record during the regular season.
“Coach of the year, I think it has a lot to do with the players, my staff, my assistants, the whole organization, so I see it as a team award,” he said. “The only thing we thought about all year was winning every game.”
Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones, who is rated as the No. 1 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, was named top prospect of the year.
Like Drouin and Ducharme, he says the award is nice, but his focus is on the Memorial Cup final.
“You work so hard all year, not necessarily for this trophy, but it’s kind of a little side accomplishment,” Jones said. “The real trophy is (Sunday).”
The other award winners announced were: Tyler Graovac of the Belleville Bulls (sportsman of the year), Brenden Leipsic and Nicolas Petan, both of the Winterhawks (top scorer of the year), Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers (humanitarian of the year), Josh Morrissey of the Prince Albert Raiders (scholastic player of the year), Valentin Zykov of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (rookie of the year), Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels (goaltender of the year) and Ryan Sproul of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (defenceman of the year).