Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion is the 2018-19 recipient of the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Overage Player of the Year.
Brazeau led the league with 61 goals and finished second overall with 113 points in 68 games played. He becomes the first member of the Battalion to earn this award after establishing a new franchise record for goals in a season while becoming just the second Battalion player following Wojtek Wolski to surpass the century mark for points in a season.
“It’s always a great feeling anytime you are recognized by the league for your personal accomplishments,” Brazeau said. “I enjoyed my four years in North Bay and couldn’t have asked for anything more. To be able to finish it off with this award, especially with the group of overage players we had in the league this year, is definitely a great feeling.”
A 21-year-old from New Liskeard, Ont., Brazeau played four seasons for the Troops after being chosen by the club in the 13th round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. His 2018-19 campaign featured 33 multi-point performances including five hat-tricks and an OHL best seven-point outing on October 21. He was recognized as one of the game’s three stars on 23 different occasions with 11 first star honours which tied for second most across the league. Brazeau was also the only Eastern Conference player to appear as a top three finisher in four different categories of the annual Coaches Poll, winning the Most Dangerous in the Goal Area vote, second Best Shot, third Smartest Player, and third Best Shootout Shooter. He finishes his OHL career with 128 goals and 238 points which are the most by any player to suit up for the Battalion since they relocated to North Bay in 2013-14. His 128 goals are second behind Wojtek Wolski (130) on the club’s all-time goal scoring list, while his 238 points rank third all-time behind Wolski (328) and Cody Hodgson (243). Upon season’s end, Brazeau signed a two-year AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies beginning in 2019-20.
“We’re very proud of Justin and excited to see him win this award,” said Stan Butler, Battalion Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations. “To see a player develop from a 13th round pick into a player recognized around the league for his abilities is quite an accomplishment. The work that Justin put in makes him a special player. Going from six goals in his first year to 61 three seasons later is a great story. Coming from a small town, Justin gives players a lot of hope, especially others from Northern Ontario.”
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.
Brazeau received 83 of a possible 95 points in the voting process, followed by Dallas Stars prospect Tye Felhaber of the Ottawa 67’s who received 44 voting points, and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mac Hollowell of the Soo Greyhounds who finished in third place with 27 voting points.
First presented in 1984, 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.
While Brazeau is the first Battalion player to win the award, it has been won three times by former North Bay Centennials including Len Soccio (1988), John Spoltore (1992), and B.J MacPherson (1994). The five previous award recipients were all members of either the Barrie Colts or the Erie Otters including Aaron Luchuk (Barrie 2018), Darren Raddysh (Erie 2017), Kevin Labanc (Barrie 2016), Joseph Blandisi (Barrie 2015), and Dane Fox (Erie 2014).
Brazeau will be formally presented with the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy at the 2018-19 OHL Awards Ceremony scheduled for June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.