The Ontario Hockey League today announced Ottawa 67’s goalie Danny Battochio is the winner of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the OHL’s Academic College/University Player of the year as well as the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
Battochio, a repeat winner of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award, is a full-time student in the Police Foundations program at Algonquin College, in Ottawa. Throughout his career Danny has been able to excel both in that classroom and on the ice. Battochio backstopped Ottawa to 24 wins this past season while posting a 3.26 goals against average and a save percentage of 0.906.
The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honour of the Hall of Fame Coach. While coaching the Peterborough Petes in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players.
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas.
Previous winners of the Bobby Smith Trophy include Dave Gagner, Craig Billington, Nathan LaFayette, Ethan Moreau and Brad Boyes.
Forward Joe Pleckaitis, also of the Ottawa 67’s is the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award winner as the OHL’s top Academic High School Player for the 2005-06 season. Pleckaitis is a grade 11 student at Hillcrest High School. While carrying a full course load this year he had an overall average of 86% during the first semester and is currently holding an average of 84% during the second semester. Pleckaitis, the 67’s third round pick in last year’s OHL Priority Selection had a solid rookie campaign for Ottawa this past season.
The award given to the Top Academic High School Player is named in honour of Ivan Tennant who spent a lifetime combining hockey and education. He was the Kitchener Rangers’ Education Consultant for 20 years and a key figure on the OHL’s Education Consultant’s Committee.