Kevin Labanc named OHL’s Overage Player of the Year
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that San Jose Sharks prospect Kevin Labanc of the Barrie Colts is the 2015-16 recipient of the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Overage Player of the Year.
Labanc led the OHL in scoring and set a new team record with 127 points in 65 games including 39 goals and 88 assists and was a league-high plus-60. He is the second straight member of the Colts to win the award and third all-time following Joseph Blandisi (2015) and Bryan Cameron (2010).
“I’m honoured to have won this award,” said Labanc. “It’s been a privilege to play for the Colts throughout my time in the league and this is an unbelievable way to cap off my junior career with this organization. We still have plenty of hockey to play here, but it’s exciting to be recognized with this.”
A 20-year-old from Staten Island, New York, Labanc was originally chosen by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection before joining the club in 2013. In three seasons the veteran played in 198 career games accumulating 269 points which ranks fourth among Barrie’s all-time greats. During the 2015-16 campaign he recorded 42 multi-point games and surpassed his own Colts record for assists in a season. His name is also etched in team record books tying a single game mark with seven points including three goals and four assists on January 2 against North Bay, while his eight shorthanded goals this season were tied for a league-high and helped the Colts set a new OHL record with 28. Labanc is also one of just four players in franchise history to record back-to-back 100 point seasons helping the Colts capture their second straight Central Division title.
“Our organization as a whole is extremely proud of Kevin,” said Colts Head Coach Dale Hawerchuk. “He has put in a lot of hard work as a Barrie Colt and we have seen improvement every single year. Being recognized at a league level speaks volumes about his on ice dedication as well as the work he has put in off the ice over his time here. It’s been exciting to watch him play and grow as a young man and a hockey player. We wish him all the best in his professional career with the Sharks.”
A sixth round pick of the Sharks in the 2014 NHL Draft, Labanc was signed to an entry-level contract in March. Additional accolades for Labanc this season include Player of the Month honours in January, and a league-high four different Player of the Week awards. In the Eastern Conference Coaches Poll he was voted Best Playmaker, Best Penalty Killer, second Smartest Player, second Most Dangerous in the Goal Area, and third Best Stickhandler.
The Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the Top Overage Player of the Year as selected by OHL General Managers. Teams were asked to submit a nominee for the award and were not permitted to vote for players from their own hockey club. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.
Labanc received 89 of a possible 95 points in the voting process ahead of goaltender Devin Williams of the Erie Otters who received 35 voting points, and London Knights forward Aaron Berisha who finished in third place with 24 voting points.
First presented in 1984, former winners of the trophy include Bill Bowler (Windsor, 1994-95), Dan Tessier (Ottawa 99-00), Chad LaRose (Plymouth 2002-03), Andre Benoit (Kitchener 2004-05), Ryan Callahan (Guelph, 2005-06), Jason Akeson (Kitchener 2010-11), Andrew Agozzino (Niagara 2011-12), and Dane Fox (Erie 2013-14).
The Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy was donated by the trainers of the Ontario Hockey League, in memory of the late Leo Lalonde, former Chief Scout of OHL Central Scouting. Leo Lalonde was also formerly the Chief Scout for the Belleville Bulls as well as a scout for the Peterborough Petes.
Labanc will be formally presented with the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy at the 2015-16 OHL Awards Ceremony scheduled for June 7 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.