Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that 2020 NHL Draft prospect Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s is the 2019-20 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the League.
Rossi becomes the eighth different 67’s player to win the award and first since Corey Locke’s second of back-to-back honours in 2003-04. He follows reigning Red Tilson Trophy recipient Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves as the second European import player to ever be recognized.
“Thank you to all of the accredited OHL media writers for awarding me the prestigious Red Tilson Trophy,” said Rossi of the honour. “I would like to acknowledge the great Mr. Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II, a true hero. In these COVID-19 unprecedented times, I honor the men and women, doctors and nurses and all of those putting their lives on the line for all of us across the globe, true heroes that follow in Mr. Tilson’s footsteps.”
Rossi finished atop the CHL scoring charts with 120 points including 39 goals, 81 assists and an impressive plus/minus rating of plus-69 over just 53 games. His 2.14 point-per-game pace led the OHL and is the highest such figure by a Red Tilson Trophy recipient since Erie’s Connor McDavid (2.55) in 2014-15. He was recently recognized as the first Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy recipient of European descent since Stan Mikita of the St. Catharines Teepees claimed the honour in 1958-59.
“I am extremely grateful to receive this recognition,” Rossi continued. “This is truly a team award, and I want to thank the entire first-class 67’s organization for their support over the 2019-20 season. From the ownership group, to the management staff, to the coaching staff, to the training staff, to my teammates, to my billeting family, to my immediate family, to the fans and to everyone who provided a helping hand during this last season and the time leading up to it: thank you! I am honored and forever grateful to receive this prestigious award.”
The 18-year-old from Feldkirch, Austria helped power the first place 67’s with the League’s top power play, rounding out the campaign with a total of 34 multi-point performances, 23 of which included three points or more. He earned three star of the game recognition a total of 23 different times, a figure that includes eight first star selections. The 5-foot-9, 187Ib. centreman finished the schedule with an impressive 58.5% success rate in the faceoff circle and was held off the scoresheet just four times.
Rossi’s 120 points are the most by a 67’s player in a single season since Locke (151) in 2002-03. His plus-69 rating is the fifth-highest by any player since the League began tracking plus/minus in 1996-97, trailing fellow 67’s Nick Boynton (plus 81, 1996-97) and Sean Blanchard (plus-74, 1996-97) as well as London’s Danny Syvret (plus-70, 2004-05) and Sault Ste. Marie’s Morgan Frost (plus-70, 2017-18).
“Marco brought fans out of their seats on numerous occasions this season, consistently showcasing his skill and smarts,” said 67’s general manager James Boyd. “Marco played with a commitment to the team concept and attention to detail defensively and on many nights dominated the game with his play at both ends of the ice. Marco is an outstanding player and it is fitting that he be awarded the Red Tilson Trophy for his contributions to our team this season.”
The sixth-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings competed in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this past January in Hamilton. Rossi, who was named to the OHL’s second all-rookie team in 2018-19, has accumulated 185 points (68-117–185) over just 109 regular season games since being selected by the 67’s with the 18th overall pick of the 2018 CHL Import Draft. He was widely recognized in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll, appearing in six different categories as he earned recognition as the Eastern Conference’s smartest player, best playmaker and best shootout shooter.
The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League. First presented in 1945, the trophy is named in honour of Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.
Accredited media were asked to select their top choice from the 20 nominees submitted by all 20 member clubs. Rossi led the way, receiving 62% of the overall vote followed by the League’s second-highest point producer in Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit with 13% of the vote and OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes with his share of 12%.
This marks the 10th time a 67’s player has earned the award as Rossi follows the aforementioned Corey Locke (2002-03, 2003-04), defenceman Brian Campbell (1998-99), two-time winner Alyn McCauley (1995-96, 1996-97), Andrew Cassels (1987-88), Jim Fox (1979-80), Bobby Smith (1977-78) and Peter Lee (1975-76) in having his name engraved on the trophy. In addition to Luukkonen, other recent winners include Sarnia’s Jordan Kyrou (2018), Erie’s Alex DeBrincat (2017) and London’s Mitch Marner (2016). Rossi joins Connor McDavid (Erie 2015), Tyler Seguin (Plymouth 2010), John Tavares (Oshawa 2007), David Legwand (Plymouth 1998), Eric Lindros (Oshawa 1991) and Jack Valiquette (Sault Ste. Marie 1974) as the seventh player to claim the honour prior to his NHL Draft selection.
The Red Tilson Trophy winner is the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year to be announced in the coming weeks.