VICTORIA, B.C. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced on Tuesday that Eric Delong of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers has been named the 2009 RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League Player of the Year.
In his second season with the Terriers, during which he served as team captain, Delong finished seventh in MJHL scoring with 93 points (46 goals, 47 assists) and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, along with earning a spot on the MJHL First All-Star Team and receiving the league’s RBC Junior A Scholarship. He also was named Portage’s MVP and Outstanding Team Player, and was named recipient of the Fan Appreciation Award while appearing in the MJHL All-Star Game for the third season in a row.
In the playoffs, Delong contributed 19 points (11 goals, 8 assists) in 13 games as the Terriers claimed their second consecutive MJHL championship and pushed the defending national Junior A champions, the Humboldt Broncos, to overtime in Game 7 of the ANAVET Cup.
The 20-year-old Delong had an impressive 2007-08 season with the Terriers as well, winning the team’s Playoff MVP award after finishing second in MJHL postseason scoring with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 16 games. He also won the Fan Appreciation Award and racked up 80 points (30 goals, 50 assists) in the regular season, helping lead Portage to its second league title in four years and a berth in the ANAVET Cup.
As impressive as his résumé is on the ice, Delong has been a model citizen off of it, elected class valedictorian in his senior year of high school and working as an educational assistant for the last few years, helping young students reach the levels he has reached in the classroom. A 90-per-cent student in high school, Delong will further his education and his hockey career beginning next fall, when he enrolls at Sacred Heart University, an NCAA Division I school.
Delong beat out runners-up Brady Wacker of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and Olivier Donovan of the LHJAAAQ’s Braves de Valleyfield, joining an elite group of winners, including Dany Heatley (1999), Kyle Turris (2007) and Joe Colborne (2008), all of whom were first-round NHL draft picks.