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OHL Announces Academic Award Winners

The Ontario Hockey League today announced the 2004-05 winners of the Roger Neilson and Ivan Tennant Memorial Awards for the OHL’s Top Academic Players.

Matt Pelech of the Sarnia Sting won the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award as the OHL’s Top Academic High School Player and Danny Battochio of the Ottawa 67’s won the Roger Neilson Memorial Award as the OHL’s Top Academic College or University Player.

Pelech maintained an 85% average with a full course load that included seven University Prep level courses. Pelech earned a 96% grade in science and a 90% grade in calculus. He also took University Prep level Law, Biology and English. The second year defenceman scored one goal and six points in 31 games with the Sting.

Battochio maintained an 80% average in an academically-challenging 10 courses at Algonquin College. On the ice, Battochio posted a 24-10-3 record along with a 2.95 goals against average in 40 games with the 67’s this season.

The Roger Neilson and Ivan Tennant Memorial Awards were introduced by the OHL Board of Governors in March to recognize the lifelong contributions to education and the game of hockey by Tennant and Neilson.

While coaching the Peterborough Petes in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Neilson was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players. A former high school teacher, Neilson went on to a successful coaching career in the National Hockey League and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002. Neilson, a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, was also honoured with the Order of Canada in 2002. He passed away on June 21, 2003 after a long fight with cancer.

Tennant, a former senior hockey player and Jr. B coach, 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 Consultants Committee. Tennant was instrumental in developing high education standards for the Rangers and the entire Ontario Hockey League before he passed away on May 4, 2004.

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