Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that James Richmond of the Mississauga Steelheads is the recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year.
Completing his fifth season as head coach in Mississauga, Richmond steered the Steelheads to club records with 37 wins and 82 points, placing second in the Central Division standings. They surrendered the League’s second-lowest total of 189 goals, produced the OHL’s third-ranked penalty kill, finished first in both shots-per-game (35.7) and fewest shots-against-per-game (26.6), and outshot opponents in 53 of their 68 contests. The Steelheads finished the season tied for the League lead with six players included on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings, including top-10 considerations Luca Del Bel Belluz and Owen Beck.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be a finalist for Coach of the Year in the OHL and an even greater honour to ultimately win it,” said Richmond. “Knowing that your peers are responsible for the votes gives me a huge sense of humility because I can tell you, I think we have great coaches throughout this entire league. I also know I didn’t win this award on my own. The Steelheads organization is filled with wonderful hard-working people that make me better and I can’t thank them enough for everything they do.”
Richmond took the opportunity to recognize key individuals to the Steelheads’ success throughout the season.
“Mike Doyle has been with me for more than a decade and his work and friendship mean the world to me. My assistant coaches, Jeff Kyrzakos and Brendan Taylor are two unbelievable people that grind away everyday and I’m so thankful for their commitment to the Steelheads. Our goalie coach Chris Beckford-Tseu and video coach Matt Comand make our team and myself better. Our support staff, equipment manager Tom Frater and athletic therapist Binne Brouwer are two of the best in the business. Our Director of Scouting Rob Toffoli finds the character players for us to coach, and our boss the owner, Elliott Kerr, is much more than that. He’s a wonderful man that allows me to coach in this league and work at what I love to do. I’m a pretty lucky person to have the job I have. I’ve had a super group of players to lead and none of this goes unnoticed. I am truly thankful of everyone that is part of the Steelheads team.
“Most importantly I’d like to thank my family, my wife, Ainsley is by my side everyday and night encouraging me to be the best I can be. My kids, Kennedy and MacGregor love me no matter what the score is.
“With great pride and gratitude I accept the Coach of the Year Award not just for myself but for all those that surround me. Thank you so so much!”
Richmond joined the Steelheads as an assistant coach in 2015-16 after spending 10 seasons as a head coach in the OJHL between the Georgetown Raiders and Aurora Tigers while also serving on the player development staff of the Los Angeles Kings. Richmond assumed head coaching responsibilities with the Trout to begin the 2016-17 season and became the club’s general manager starting in 2017-18 after guiding the Steelheads to an East Division title and Eastern Conference championship. The 58-year-old Mississauga native owns a career OHL coaching record of 163-134-18-18 for a winning percentage of .544.
The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year as selected by his peers since 1972. The award is in recognition of the contributions of Matt Leyden, past president of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1965-67, and former manager of the Oshawa Generals who spent more than 50 years with the team.
The first Matt Leyden Trophy recipient in the all-time history of the Steelheads franchise, Richmond will be the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year Award.
2022 OHL Awards announcements continue on Thursday when the OHL recognizes its Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy recipient as the League’s Humanitarian of the Year.