OHL Academic Players of the Month for December


Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs, Owen Van Steensel of the North Bay Battalion, Matthew Poitras of the Guelph Storm and PJ Forgione of the Saginaw Spirit have been named Academic Players of the Month for December.

East Division: Kingston Frontenacs captain and top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Shane Wright is the OHL East Division Academic Player of the Month for December. Recording an 87 percent average at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Wright also worked on his studies remotely throughout his time representing Canada at the recent World Junior Hockey Championship.

Wright maintains a full academic course load, which includes achieving a 92 percent in English, and a 97 percent in Religion.

“Since being granted exceptional player status and selected first overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Shane has continued to excel, setting and upholding the highest standard for himself, both on and off the ice. He is an exceptional role model to both his class and teammates,” said Frontenacs academic advisor Kristi LeSarge.

The Burlington, Ont. native and former OHL Rookie of the Year has earned 30 points (11-19–30) in 22 games this season. This marks Wright’s second time receiving East Division Academic Player of the Month honours.

Central Division: North Bay Battalion rookie forward Owen Van Steensel is the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for December.

Van Steensel achieved an 80 percent average in Grade 12 university-level Advanced Functions, a 71 percent in Biology, and a 96 percent in Grade 12 Kinesiology at Chippewa Secondary School.

“Owen’s teachers all describe him as diligent, hard-working, mature, and kind,” said Battalion academic advisor Stephanie Silverthorn. “As our school is working on an octomester format, Owen has been completing challenging Grade 12 university level courses in 20-24 days and still managing his busy hockey schedule.”

Owen’s Kinesiology teacher commented that, “in every conversation with Owen, it is clear he has been taught the value of mutual respect and kindness. He asked questions when necessary and advocated appropriately. He is a true pleasure to teach.”

The 17-year-old from Ilderton, Ont. has recorded six points in 31 games (2-4–6) for the Battalion. Van Steensel was selected in the fourth round (63rd overall) by North Bay in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. He scored his first career OHL goal on November 4th in Peterborough.

Midwest Division: Guelph Storm rookie forward Matthew Poitras is the Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for December, excelling in his studies with a 97 percent average at Centennial CVI.

Poitras is currently taking grade 12 university preparation Biology, Advanced Functions and Business of Sport.

“Matthew’s outstanding dedication to his academic studies and his exceptional work ethic have continued this year. He has repeatedly been described as a ‘top student’ impressing his teachers with his mature approach to learning, his outstanding work habits and strong participation in class,” said Storm academic advisor Colleen Driscoll. “He is a self-directed and self-motivated learner and this has been reflected in his superb performance in class.”

A 17-year-old from Brooklin, Ont., Poitras has recorded an impressive 21 points (9-12-21) in 27 games for the Storm in his first OHL season. He was selected in the first round (12th overall) of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, and was assigned an ‘A’ rating on the latest edition of NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list for the 2022 NHL Draft.

West Division: Saginaw Spirit rookie defender PJ Forgione  is the OHL West Division Academic Player of the Month for December, recording a 93 percent average in Grade 11 studies through Michigan International Prep Academy.

Forgione achieved a 95 percent average in English, a 90 percent in Mathematics, a 94 percent in Science, a 97 percent in Civil Rights, a 91 percent in Coaching, and a 90 percent in Graphic Design.

“PJ is an enthusiastic student with a great work ethic. He is gifted and very dedicated to his studies,” said Spirit academic advisor Pam Moretuzzo. “PJ is a strong-willed and driven individual made evident by his 93 percent average while also attending many scholastic, athletic, and community service commitments.  He has outstanding sportsmanship and a positive attitude both on and off of the ice.  He welcomes academic and personal challenges and works diligently to accomplish his goals.”

A Novi, Michigan native, the 17-year-old has seven points (1-6-7) through his first 29 games in Saginaw. Forgione was chosen in the sixth round (118th overall) by the Spirit in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. He scored his first career OHL goal on December 10th in Guelph.

2021-22 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

East Division:
December – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
November – Cole Brown (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Sam Alfano (Peterborough Petes)

Central Division:
December – Owen Van Steensel (North Bay Battalion)
November – Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts)
October – Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads)

Midwest Division:
December – Matthew Poitras (Guelph Storm)
November – Nolan Lalonde (Erie Otters)
October – Cal Uens (Owen Sound Attack)

West Division:
December – PJ Forgione (Saginaw Spirit)
November – Ethan Hay (Flint Firebirds)
October – Bronson Ride (Windsor Spitfires)

A total of 343 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2020-21 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3.1 million. Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totalled more than $25 million.

Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

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