The Canadian Hockey League is proud to announce the three finalists for the 2019-20 CHL David Branch Player of the Year Award.
Since 1975 the award has been presented annually to the player judged to be the most outstanding across the CHL. This season the trophy was renamed in honour of David Branch who has held his position as OHL Commissioner since 1979, and served as CHL President from 1996-2019.
Representing the Western Hockey League for award consideration is Adam Beckman of the Spokane Chiefs, from the Ontario Hockey League is Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s, and from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic.
Beckman is the WHL’s recipient of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy after leading his league in scoring with 107 points including 48 goals and 59 assists in 63 games for the Chiefs. The 19-year-old from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was a third round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Rossi claimed the OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy after leading the entire CHL in scoring with 120 points including 39 goals and 81 assists in 53 games during his second season with the 67’s. The 18-year-old from Feldkirch, Austria, is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and is the sixth ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting’s North American list.
Lafreniere won the QMJHL’s Michel Briere Trophy a second straight season after leading the league in scoring with 112 points including 35 goals and 77 assists over 52 games as captain of the Oceanic. The 18-year-old from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, is the top ranked prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft.
Last year’s recipient was none other than Lafreniere who wrapped up the 2018-19 campaign with 37 goals and 68 assists for 105 points in 61 games. He aims to become just the second two-time national award recipient following another former Oceanic captain Sidney Crosby in 2004 and 2005. Brad Richards also won the award in 2000, the last time Rimouski captured the Memorial Cup. Five former 67’s have won the national award including Corey Locke (2003), Brian Campbell (1999), Alyn McCauley (1997), Bobby Smith (1978), and Peter Lee (1976). Locke (2004) and McCauley (1996) were also nominated a second time while Andrew Cassels (1988) and Jim Fox (1980) were also considered. Ray Whitney (1991) was the last member of the Chiefs to be a finalist. Alex DeBrincat (2017) of the Erie Otters and Brendan Shinnimin (2012) of the Tri-City Americans where the last OHL and WHL national award recipients.
The 2019-20 recipient of the CHL David Branch Player of the Year Award will be announced in the coming weeks.