Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Ryan McGill of the Owen Sound Attack is the 2016-17 recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year.
McGill led the Attack to an all-time franchise best record of 49-15-2-2 for 102 points finishing with the league’s second best regular season totals, just one point shy of the first place Erie Otters. The 49 wins and 102 points surpass the club’s previous highs of 46 and 97 set during the Attack’s 2010-11 championship campaign led by the late Mark Reeds who also earned Coach of the Year honours that season.
“I’m very humbled to receive this award,” said McGill. “All of our staff members and all of our players share in this award because without their dedication to excellence every day we wouldn’t be where we are today. Their approach to getting better every day has been nothing short of spectacular.”
With McGill behind the bench for his second OHL campaign, the Attack were the league’s most improved team from 2015-16 increasing their win total by 17 and point total by 27 which were both tops among all 20 member teams. This season the Attack set a new franchise record with a 15-game winning-streak from December 9 to January 26 and surrendered a league-low 177 goals against. On special teams the Attack boasted the OHL’s best power play at 28.4% efficiency, while their penalty kill ranked third at 83.5%.
“Ryan was a terrific hire two years ago and has been engaged with this group from the first time we all got together last year,” said Attack General Manager Dale DeGray. “He is a perfectionist that expects his players to want to put in the same amount of time and preparation that he does. That dedication rubs off on the players and we’ve seen what can happen through that hard work and passion.”
Prior to joining the Attack, the 48-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alberta, served behind the bench for the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice as Head Coach for three seasons from 2012-15 earning WHL Coach of the Year honours in 2013. He began his coaching career with the Ice organization in 1996, spending six years with the franchise, culminating with Ed Chynoweth Cup and Mastercard Memorial Cup titles in his final season as Head Coach in 2002. McGill’s other coaching ventures have included time as the Head Coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and Quad City Flames from 2002-09 before taking on an assistant coaching role with the NHL’s Calgary Flames from 2009-11. McGill’s time behind the bench follows a lengthy playing career that included 151 NHL contests with Chicago, Philadelphia and Edmonton on the blue line between 1991-95. A graduate of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, he also spent time with the Lethbridge and Swift Current Broncos in his junior career that spanned four seasons from 1985-89. He played an integral role with the Tigers in their unforgettable 1987-88 season that saw them capture their second straight WHL Championship before also hoisting the Memorial Cup for the second consecutive year. McGill was Chicago’s second round (29th overall) pick in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft.
The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year as selected by his peers since 1972. The award is in recognition of the contributions of Matt Leyden, past President of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1965-67, and former manager of the Oshawa Generals who spent more than 50 years with the team.
In a first round of balloting, teams vote for the top coaches within their own conference. The top three nominees from both the Eastern and Western conferences are declared finalists. A second round of voting is then conducted on a league wide basis where teams vote for any of the six finalists. At no time during the voting can a team vote for their own candidate. Coaches receive five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.
McGill finished first in the voting process with 81 points, with last year’s award recipient Kris Knoblauch of the Erie Otters finishing in second place with 53 voting points, and Drew Bannister of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who finished in third place with 16 voting points.
Most recent Matt Leyden Trophy recipients include Kris Knoblauch (Erie 2016), Sheldon Keefe (Sault Ste. Marie 2015), D.J Smith (Oshawa 2014), Mike Vellucci (Plymouth 2013), Greg Gilbert (Saginaw 2012), Mark Reeds (Owen Sound 2011), Dale Hunter (London 2010), and Bob Boughner (Windsor 2009). Boughner, Hunter, and Vellucci are among the list of 10 coaches who have won the award multiple times along with Brian Kilrea, Bert Templeton, George Burnett, Peter DeBoer, Gary Agnew, Terry Crisp, and Craig Hartsburg.
The Matt Leyden Trophy will be formally presented to McGill at the 2016-17 OHL Awards Ceremony taking place on Thursday June 8 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He will be the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year to be announced on Saturday May 27 as part of the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup.