The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce the 2018-19 recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
Thomas Harley has earned the honour for his academic achievements in the classroom combined with his on-ice excellence for the Mississauga Steelheads. Harley has been enrolled in six University level courses at Philip Pocock Public High School and Blyth Academy where he carries an overall average of over 88% studying Advanced Functions, Interdisciplinary Studies, Biology, English, Geography, and Chemistry. On the ice, the top NHL Draft prospect scored 58 points in 68 games including 11 goals and 47 assists.
“It’s a huge honour to win this award,” said Harley. “A lot of great players have won it and I consider myself lucky to be among them. A huge thank you goes out to my parents, teachers, billets, and coaches who have gotten me to this point.”
The 17-year-old from Syracuse, New York, finished eighth among OHL defencemen in scoring and is the 11th ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting among North American prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft. The first round pick by the Steelheads in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection increased his point production by 43 from his rookie campaign and was voted Most Improved Player in the Eastern Conference Coaches Poll to go along with Best Offensive Defenceman and second Best Skater recognition. At season’s end, Harley represented Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
“The Mississauga Steelheads organization would like to congratulate Thomas Harley for being named this year’s Bobby Smith Trophy recipient,” said Steelheads General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond. “We couldn’t be more proud of Thomas for what he has accomplished not only on the ice but in the classroom as well. His dedication and commitment to his studies is a ringing endorsement that people can be great student athletes! Well done Thomas and we wish you continued success!”
Each year the Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, a former Ottawa 67’s star who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas. Harley is the second member of the Steelheads to win the award following Nicolas Hague in 2016. Additional recipients since the award was first presented in 1980 include three-time winner Dustin Brown (Guelph 2001-03), Steven Stamkos (Sarnia 2007), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2008), Matt Duchene (Brampton 2009), Erik Gudbranson (Kingston 2010), Dougie Hamilton (Niagara 2011), Adam Pelech (Erie 2012), Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), back-to-back winner Connor McDavid (Erie 2014-15), Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 2017), and Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie 2018).
Next in line for the award were a pair of dynamic rookies including Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and Jean-Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2018-19 OHL Scholastic Team:
2018-19 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Peter Fleming
Erie Otters – Jamie Drysdale
Flint Firebirds – Ethan Keppen
Guelph Storm – Owen Lalonde**
Hamilton Bulldogs – Logan Morrison
Kingston Frontenacs – Matt Hotchkiss*
Kitchener Rangers – Michael Vukojevic
London Knights – Sahil Panwar
Mississauga Steelheads – Thomas Harley
Niagara IceDogs – Ben Jones**
North Bay Battalion – Mitchell Russell
Oshawa Generals – Mitchell Brewer
Ottawa 67’s – Graeme Clarke
Owen Sound Attack – Nolan Seed
Peterborough Petes – Tye Austin
Saginaw Spirit – Cole Perfetti
Sarnia Sting – Brayden Guy
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Cole MacKay
Sudbury Wolves – Peter Stratis*
Windsor Spitfires – Jean-Luc Foudy
*two-time member of OHL Scholastic Team
**three-time member of OHL Scholastic Team