OHL grads Lajeunesse and Torchia earn U SPORTS men’s hockey national recognition


OHL alumni Troy Lajeunesse and Nathan Torchia have both been recognized as national award winners in U SPORTS men’s hockey. Both players helped their respective teams reach the U SPORTS University Cup currently taking place in Charlottetown, PEI.

An additional three OHL grads in Liam Hawel, Matt Brassard and Jacob Roach joined Lajeunesse and Torchia as U SPORTS All-Canadians in 2022-23.

U SPORTS Men’s Hockey Goaltender of the Year – Nathan Torchia (Windsor Lancers):

No matter how much the opposition tried, Nathan Torchia was tough to beat between the pipes this year.

The former Kitchener Rangers and Oshawa Generals netminder saw his fair share of action during the 2022-23 season, playing over 1,321 minutes for the Blue and Gold, the second most in the OUA. Torchia finished the year with a league-leading 16 wins and just three regulation and three overtime losses and was a big reason the Lancers finished tied atop the OUA west division with 39 points.

Through the regular season, the Baden, Ont., native produced a nation-leading 0.936 save percentage and recorded a 2.04 goals-against average to sit seventh in the country. Torchia was again outstanding in the postseason, posting a 1.78 GAA – tops in Canada – and a 0.946 save percentage.

“Nathan’s consistent play throughout the year has vaulted him as one of the finest goaltenders in the country,” said Lancer men’s hockey head coach Kevin Hamlin. “I couldn’t be happier for someone like Nathan to receive recognition at the national level. He has been consistently great for us this year and gives us a chance to compete every night.”

A former fourth round pick of the Oshawa Generals in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Torchia saw three games between Oshawa and Kitchener between 2017-20. He spent much of his junior career in the OJHL with the Georgetown Raiders, also playing one season with the MJHL’s Summerside Western Capitals. His father, Mike Torchia, played four seasons between the pipes with the Kitchener Rangers from 1988-92 before a lengthy pro career.

U SPORTS Men’s Hockey Most Sportsmanlike Player (R.W. Pugh Trophy) – Troy Lajeunesse (UPEI Panthers):

In his fourth season with the UPEI Panthers, Troy Lajeunesse led the Panthers in both goals (15) and points (30). His 30 points were good for fourth in the Atlantic conference.

The Arts student from Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, played in 28 games for UPEI and took 108 shots while picking up just six minor penalties all season.

In addition to being named the country’s most sportsmanlike player, Lajeunesse has also been named a Second Team All-Canadian.

The only UPEI player to be honoured with the national award is former Panthers standout Joel Ward, who won the award in 2004-05 and then went on to play 11 seasons in the NHL, retiring from the San Jose Sharks in 2018.

“We are very proud of Troy and this award. It is so well deserved. Troy is so committed and driven and plays the game the right way,” said UPEI head coach Forbes MacPherson. “He is being honoured for sportsmanship, but this award is given to an elite player that plays with sportsmanship, and that is why Troy has been recognized.”

Lajeunesse played four OHL seasons between the Sarnia Sting, Sudbury Wolves and Erie Otters from 2014-18, recording 59 goals, 91 assists and 150 points over 251 career regular season contests.

First Team All-Canadians:
Forward – Liam Hawel (StFX X-Men) Sault Ste. Marie/Guelph/Kitchener 2015-20
Goaltender – Nathan Torchia (Windsor Lancers) Oshawa/Kitchener 2017-20

Second Team All-Canadians:
Forward – Troy Lajeunesse (UPEI Panthers) Sarnia/Sudbury/Erie 2014-18
Forward – Jacob Roach (Brock Badgers) Guelph 2019-20
Defence – Matt Brassard (UPEI Panthers) Barrie/Oshawa/Niagara 2015-19

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