The Canadian Junior A Hockey League (CJAHL) has announced the eight finalists for the 2007 RBC Financial
Group CJAHL Player of the Year. One finalist was chosen from eight of the CJAHL’s member leagues.
The 2007 RBC Financial Group CJAHL Player of the Year will be announced on Friday, April 20th.
British Columbia Hockey League – Kyle Turris (Burnaby Express)
To say Turris has had a strong year in his final year of Junior A would be a bit of an understatement.
Following his MVP performance in last year’s RBC Royal Bank Cup championship game, the New Westminster, BC
native won a gold medal as a member of Canada’s National Under-18 Team at the Junior World Cup in the Czech
Republic in August, and was named MVP of the inaugural World Junior A Challenge in Yorkton, SK in
Turris, who will be attending the University of Wisconsin beginning in the fall, finished second in BCHL
scoring in 2006-07, scoring a league-leading 66 goals (including 50 in 39 games), and finishing with 121
points in 53 games. He put up another 26 points (12g, 14a) in 14 playoff games as the Express advanced to the
seventh game of the conference semi-final.
Off the ice, Turris represents the Express at various functions, serving as a guest coach at minor hockey
practices and going to elementary schools to read to children and tell them about the importance of school.
As for his own schooling, the Grade 12 student at St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby will be enrolling in
the business program at Wisconsin, with the goal of obtaining a business degree.
Alberta Junior Hockey League – Dustin Sather (Grande Prairie Storm)
There’s not much Dustin Sather hasn’t been able to accomplish while a member of the Grande Prairie Storm. The
2006/07 AJHL Most Valuable Player and Source for Sports Cup winner, Sather was also named to the AJHL’s First
All-Star Team – a unanimous selection – and was named his team’s Most Valuable Player and Top Forward. Throw
in the fact that he led the AJHL in scoring with 104 points (41g, 63a) and Sather had a season for the ages
Sather, who will attend the University of Alaska-Fairbanks next season, finished his AJHL career as the
Storm’s all-time leader in games, goals, assists, points and power play goals, and sits 8th on the AJHL’s
all-time scoring chart.
A participant in the ‘Read Up A Storm’ program in Grande Prairie, Sather traveled to local schools to read
to students and explain how important an education is. He also worked with numerous Grande Prairie Minor
Hockey Association teams, helping coach aspiring players.
Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League – Kyle Reed (Notre Dame Hounds)
The Notre Dame Hounds’ sniper was one of the most consistent scorers in the SJHL in 2006/07, averaging more
than a point per game in racking up 61 points in 48 games. He finished third in the league with 32 goals,
impressive considering he missed two weeks of action in November to join Team Canada West at the World Junior
A Challenge, where he won a gold medal, scoring twice in four games.
While in Yorkton, SK for the WJAC, Reed kept the rest of Canada updated on Canada West’s progress, writing
a daily diary that was posted on the SJHL’s website, as well as Hockey Canada’s.
Despite having a year of Junior A eligibility remaining, Reed will move on to Ohio State University for
the 2007/08 season and continue his hockey career with the Buckeyes while pursuing an education.
Manitoba Junior Hockey League – Brant Hilton (Winnipeg South Blues)
After joining the Blues around Christmas from the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, Hilton turned the MJHL into
his own personal playground, winning the MJHL MVP and Top Goaltender awards while leading the league in
almost every major statistical category and making the MJHL’s First All-Star Team.
Hilton turned in a 31-15-2 record, with a league-leading 2.60 goals against average, a league-leading .925
save percentage and a league-leading seven shutouts in 48 games, helping the Blues to a second-place finish
in the MJHL’s Addison Division, although they were upset in the opening round of the playoffs by their
cross-town rivals, the Winnipeg Saints.
Away from the Blues, Hilton works as an instructor at the Starbuck Hockey Academy, and values giving
advice to young goaltenders, sharing some of his experiences with the hope it will help them in their
careers. He aspires to have a career in communications, possibly in writing or broadcasting.
Superior Int’l Junior Hockey League – Jordan Smith (Fort William North Stars)
Being captain of the defending league and regional champions would put a lot of pressure on a young hockey
player. But not Jordan Smith. As a 20-year-old with the North Stars, Smith put up 86 points (46g, 40a), tops
in the SIJHL in scoring among defensemen, and almost 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor. He was also
the leading scorer among CJAHL defensemen.
Smith has led the North Stars to another SIJHL regular season championship, with a 41-6-3 record, and has
helped them into another SIJHL Championship Series, as they look for league title number four in a row.
A student at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, Smith has aspirations of becoming a high school
teacher and having the same influence on his students that teachers had on him. He is currently majoring in
History and Kinesiology, and has plans to graduate in the spring of 2010.
Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League – Anthony Libonati (Blind River Beavers)
A two-year captain of the Beavers, Libonati has led by example, both on the ice and off, as evidenced by
being awarded the NOJHL Best Overall Team Player for 2006/07. A Second Team NOJHL All-Star and point-per-game
player (26g, 33a, 59p in 43gp), Libonati finished in the top ten of league scoring in 2006/07.
Off the ice, Libonati volunteered his time with a Novice team in the Blind River Minor Hockey Association,
going out to practices and doing what he could to help the team. His leadership skills and positive attitude
are just two of the reasons he was chosen as the Beavers’ captain for a second consecutive year.
With a number of NCAA scholarships available to him, Libonati will go to school in the fall and work
towards a degree in business management, with a minor in graphic design and/or music. He already has his mind
set on what he wants as a career: creating custom drum sets that can combine his love of art with his love of
Central Junior Hockey League – Doug Jewer (Kanata Stallions)
Returning to the CJHL after one year of NCAA hockey at Northeastern University meant Jewer had the experience
needed to excel. He did just that, winning CJHL MVP – as well as Stallions MVP – along with a spot on the
CJHL First All-Star Team and the league’s Top Goaltender Award.
As a player with NCAA experience, Jewer stepped up in the dressing room, becoming more vocal both on and
off the ice and taking a leadership role. For his efforts, both this season and the two previous years he
spent in Kanata, Jewer will have his jersey retired by the team in 2007/08.
Jewer looks forward to returning to an NCAA school in 2007/08 and continuing the college education he
began at Northeastern University.
Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League – Nicolas Lafontaine (Action de Joliette)
A three-year QMJHL veteran (Rouyn-Noranda and Chicoutimi), Lafontaine took the LHJAAAQ by storm, scoring 47
goals and adding 38 assists in 50 games. He was awarded the league MVP award, as well as the Student Player
of the Year award. He was also the RBC Financial Group Junior A Scholarship recipient for the LHJAAAQ.
Being a three-year vet of the QMJHL, Lafontaine brings a lot of experience and leadership qualities to the
Action. Just because Lafontaine does not wear a letter on his jersey does not mean to him that he cannot
speak up and be a leader in the dressing room and on the ice. He is constantly talking with the younger
players, giving advice and making them better players.
An Actuarial/Finance Mathematics student at Concordia University, Lafontaine will continue his hockey
career with the Stingers while getting his education. He has his sights set on being an actuarial analyst
once his playing career is over.