London Knights captain Mitchell Marner has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 OHL Playoffs and is the recipient of the Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect led the OHL playoffs in scoring with 16 goals, 28 assists and 44 points in 18 games.
“We’re a team that has come to the rink and worked hard every night and we deserve this,” said Marner. “Regardless of what happened we never got down on each other and we play for the guy sitting next to us in the room. There’s been a lot of hard work but it’s not over. We have to refocus for the Memorial Cup.”
Marner, an 18 year-old winger from Thornhill, ON, had a goal, six assists and seven points in four games during the Rogers OHL Championship Series. The third-year veteran led the Knights to their fourth J. Ross Robertson Cup title in franchise history with a 4-0 series sweep of the Niagara IceDogs. He had points in 17 of his 18 postseason contests, finishing the OHL playoffs on a 16-game point streak.
Marner’s postseason performance was highlighted by a pair of five-point efforts, the first coming behind a goal and four assists in an 8-5 victory over the Owen Sound Attack on March 30th. Marner recorded four goals and an assist in a 6-4 series-clinching victory over the Kitchener Rangers. He had multi-point performances in 13 of his 18 playoff outings.
Marner becomes the fourth Knights player to win the award, following Corey Perry in 2005, Austin Watson in 2012 and Bo Horvat in 2013.
He joins Connor McDavid (2015), Corey Perry (2005) and Brad Boyes (2002) as the fourth player in OHL history to win the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player as well as the Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award as playoff MVP in the same season.
The OHL introduced the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award in 1999 to honour the Most Valuable Player in the OHL Playoffs as selected by the media. Gretzky, a native of Brantford, graduated from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to become the most prolific scorer in the history of the NHL. The league created the award in tribute of ‘The Great One’ shortly after he announced his retirement from the NHL in 1999.
Wayne Gretzky 99 Award winners:
2016 – Mitchell Marner (London Knights)*
2015 – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters)*
2014 – Robby Fabbri (Guelph Storm)
2013 – Bo Horvat (London Knights)
2012 – Austin Watson (London Knights)
2011 – Robby Mignardi (Owen Sound Attack)
2010 – Adam Henrique (Windsor Spitfires)
2009 – Taylor Hall (Windsor Spitfires)
2008 – Justin Azevedo (Kitchener Rangers)
2007 – Marc Staal (Sudbury Wolves)
2006 – Daniel Ryder (Peterborough Petes)
2005 – Corey Perry (London Knights)*
2004 – Martin St. Pierre (Guelph Storm)
2003 – Derek Roy (Kitchener Rangers)
2002 – Brad Boyes (Erie Otters)*
2001 – Seamus Kotyk (Ottawa 67’s)
2000 – Brian Finley (Barrie Colts)
1999 – Justin Papineau (Belleville Bulls)
*also won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player
VIDEO: Mitch Marner wins Wayne Gretzky ’99’ Award.