Petes’ Michael Simpson claims Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as OHL Playoff MVP
Toronto, Ont. – Peterborough Petes goaltender Michael Simpson has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2023 OHL Playoffs and is the recipient of the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award. The trophy was presented to Simpson by OHL Commissioner David Branch.
Simpson played in all 23 of Peterborough’s playoff contests, playing to an overall record of 16-7 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He turned in two separate 50-save performances in the OHL Championship Series, and stopped 36 of 37 in the Petes’ 2-1 championship-clinching win over London in Game 6.
“It’s pretty cool to win the MVP, but that other trophy is way more important,” said Simpson after the final buzzer. “There isn’t another group of guys that I’d want to win with.
“We battled through so much adversity this year and to come out on top it shows everybody that we’re the real Petes. We had a lot out doubters around the trade deadline and look where we are now? We can’t wait to get to Kamloops.”
Simpson becomes the third goaltender to ever win the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award and the first since Seamus Kotyk of the Ottawa 67’s back in 2001.
A 20-year-old from London, Ont., Simpson played to a 24-22-2-2 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 51 games this past season, leading the OHL in saves (1,442) and minutes played (2,989). Simpson was the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for October 2022. He played to a mark of 20-18-3-1 in 2021-22, registering a 3.56 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. He was a 10th round (193rd overall) pick by the Petes in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection from the London Jr. Knights U16 program.
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:
2023 – Michael Simpson (Peterborough Petes)
2022 – Logan Morrison (Hamilton Bulldogs)
2019 – Nick Suzuki (Guelph Storm)
2018 – Robert Thomas (Hamilton Bulldogs)
2017 – Warren Foegele (Erie Otters)
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)