Cambridge, ON, Friday, May 11, 2018 - This week the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA)
has been announcing the recipients of the 2017-18 OHA Awards and today we are very
pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2017-18 OHA Donald Sanderson Memorial
Award is Ryan Casselman of the Napanee Raiders from the Provincial Junior Hockey
League (PJHL) Tod Division.
OHA DONALD SANDERSON MEMORIAL AWARD – Ryan Casselman, Napanee Raiders (PJHL)
The Donald Sanderson Memorial Award is presented annually to a player in the OHA
that meets the criteria as set out by the Sanderson Family; Dedication; Discipline;
Desire; and Deportment, and this year's recipient, Ryan Casselman (Napanee, Ontario)
has all of these traits in spades.
Ryan Casselman's Junior hockey career has come full circle; in 2013-14 he was the
Empire B Junior C Hockey League rookie of the year with the Napanee Raiders; and
after three years of Junior A he returned to Napanee in 2017-18 to play for his
hometown Raiders, winning the PJHL scoring title and was unanimously chosen as the
PJHL Tod Division's MVP.
Last season the 5'9" 170 pound forward racked up 117 points in 40 regular season
games (48 goals, 69 assists) for the Napanee Raiders, leading them to a record breaking
first-place finish atop the PJHL's Tod Division. In his first year with the Raiders,
in 2013-14, Casselman had 47 points in 40 games and moved on to Pembroke the following
season with the Junior A Lumber Kings in the CCHL. He spent 1 ½ years there, picking
up 56 points in 83 games before returning closer to home with the Cobourg Cougars
of the OJHL. His skill set and production was excellent but he hadn't peaked, not
He finished the 2015-16 season in Cobourg, scoring 25 points in 30 games, but the
following season is when he really made his mark in Junior A. In 2016-17 the Cobourg
Cougars were hosts for the 2017 RBC Cup, the National Junior A Championship and
in the regular season Casselman tallied 73 points in 53 games, earning the OJHL's
Most Improved Player Award and was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Star. It was Casselman's
goal late in the third period against the Brooks Bandits in the 2017 RBC Cup Championship
that sent the game into overtime where the Cougars scored to upset the Bandits to
win their first-ever National Junior A Championship.
Casselman was expecting to play NCAA hockey in 2017-18 after being offered a scholarship
at Niagara University, but Niagara made a coaching change and withdrew the agreements
made with several prospects, including Ryan. Casselman took the experience as a
life lesson and decided he'd like to be back in his hometown, close to family. He
also had a preference for a more practical education and chose a hands-on electrical
engineering program at St. Lawrence College. So far he has made the transition to
college life very smoothly, maintaining a high-80s average while committing to play
with the Raiders, affiliate in Cobourg, and work part time for a local event planning
and decorating company. That's a busy schedule for anyone, but Casselman did not
miss a practice or team function all season and was the only Napanee Raider to play
in all 40 games.
Raiders' General Manager Adam Bramburger thinks very highly of Casselman, saying:
"While his dedication to hockey and his skills are evident, there's much more to
Ryan than just hockey." Bramburger added, "In the summer of 2016, our organization
was holding a cook-off fundraiser and we were looking for players to serve food
and help out. Despite being gone from the Raider organization for two full years,
Ryan stayed all night, did several jobs, and helped make our event a success."
Ryan Casselman is a highly skilled hockey player who is dedicated to the sport and
to his community. He has the discipline to balance school, hockey, work and commitments.
He has a strong desire to succeed and doesn't let life's tough lessons slow him
down; instead he uses them as motivation. His behavior on and off the ice is befitting
of this honour of being chosen the 2017-18 recipient of the Donald Sanderson Memorial
Award. The only question that remains is what does he do for an encore in his final
year of Junior in 2018-19?
ABOUT THE DONALD SANDERSON MEMORIAL AWARD
The Donald Sanderson Memorial Award is dedicated to the memory of the late Donald
Sanderson, who incurred a serious head injury in an OHA game on December 12, 2008
as a member of the Whitby Dunlops; and after a courageous battle, died on January
2, 2009. During his 21 years, 5 months and 19 days, Donald lived a passionate life.
He was a player, a teammate, a coach, a teacher, a student, a loyal and caring friend
and a young leader with a zest for life. And it was through his passion for life
that he taught those that knew him to Live Well, Love Well and Laugh Often.
The award is presented annually to a player in the Ontario Hockey Association that
meets the criteria as set out by the Sanderson Family: Dedication, Discipline, Desire,
and Deportment; traits that Donald was well known for. It is very fitting that the
winners of the Donald Sanderson Memorial Award should demonstrate the same qualities
and characteristics. Candidates for the award must exercise a high degree of educational
standard and must be enrolled in College or University. The award also provides
a $1,000 bursary from the OHA.
Recipients of the OHA Donald Sanderson Memorial Award:
- 2017-18 Ryan Casselman, Napanee Raiders
- 2016-17 Eric Oosting, Lakefield Chiefs
- 2015-16 Jerry Ennett, New Hamburg Firebirds
- 2014-15 Lucas Triemstra, Ancaster Avalanche
- 2013-14 Marc Williams, Kitchener Dutchmen
- 2012-13 Jacob Baribeau, Dorchester Dolphins
- 2011-12 Tyler Crawford, Owen Sound Greys
- 2010-11 Brian Valentine, Aylmer Spitfires
- 2009-10 Cody Loeffen, Port Colborne Pirates
The 2017-18 OHA Awards recipients will receive their Awards at the Hockey Hall of
Fame in Toronto on Friday, June 1, 2018.
Monday: Officials Awards
Tuesday: Top Prospects
Wednesday: Trainer & Coach of the Year Awards
Thursday: Players of the Year Awards (Sr. AAA, Jr. A, Jr. B, Jr. C)
Friday: BJ Monro and Donald Sanderson Awards
About the OHA
The Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) was founded on November 27, 1890 and is the
governing body for the majority of Junior and Senior Hockey in the Province of Ontario.
The OHA is a Member Partner of the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), one of thirteen
Provincial and Regional Branches of Hockey Canada. The OHA consists of three Junior
Hockey leagues, Junior A - Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL); Junior B - Greater
Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL); Junior C - Provincial Junior Hockey League
(PJHL); and one Senior Hockey league, Senior AAA - Allan Cup Hockey (ACH). For more
information about the OHA, please visit: www.ohahockey.ca.