Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that draft eligible forward Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit is the 2019-20 recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year presented by CIBC.
“CIBC proudly congratulates Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Perfetti on receiving the Bobby Smith Trophy as CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year. Cole’s demonstrated excellence both on the ice in hockey and off the ice in academics has set a positive example for his fellow teammates and those in the community, and we look forward to seeing him continue to flourish back on the ice in the near future.”
Perfetti becomes the first Spirit player to win the award, earning the honour for his academic achievements in the classroom combined with his on-ice excellence this season. He has been enrolled in an impressive seven University level courses between Heritage High School in Saginaw and All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, carrying an overall average of 93%. His courses of study include Algebra, World Religions, Organizational Studies in Behaviour and Human Resources, Analyzing Current Economic Issues, Elite Athletics, Healthy & Active Living and Leadership. On the ice, the top NHL Draft prospect finished second in OHL scoring, setting a new Spirit single season record with 111 points including 37 goals, 74 assists and a plus-49 rating over 61 games.
“It is a great honour to be awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy. Mr. Smith was an amazing OHL player who was named CHL Player of the Year and was selected first overall in the NHL Draft,” said Perfetti. “In addition, he was a very conscientious and successful student. Combining excellence on and off the ice has been something I have always strived for and the long list of distinguished winners, including Barrett Hayton, Connor McDavid, Matt Duchene and Steven Stamkos makes it extra special. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Saginaw Spirit ownership, management, coaching staff and my teammates. Thanks to my mom, dad, sister and the Bordeaux’s for their unconditional support. Thank you also to Mrs. Moretuzzo from Heritage High and Ms. Quinn from All Saints for all of their guidance over the last two years.”
The 18-year-old left-winger from Whitby, Ont. is the fifth-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings released on April 8. The Spirit’s fist round (fifth overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection increased his output from 74 points including a Spirit rookie record of 37 goals in 2018-19 to 111 points in his sophomore campaign, finishing second in League assists with 74. Perfetti was widely recognized in the 2019-20 Coaches Poll, leading all OHL players with first place finishes in four different categories as he was named the Western Conference’s Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. He led all OHL players, receiving three star of the game recognition a total of 22 times including a league-best 14 first star performances. Perfetti has also had past success on the world stage, representing Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship in addition to winning silver at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
“As an organization we could not be more proud of Cole for winning this prestigious award,” said Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill. “When Cole came into this season one of his personal goals was to win the Bobby Smith Trophy and it’s great to see him achieve what he set out to do. This is a very tough trophy to win and I think it speaks to Cole’s character and makeup as a person that he is the 2019-20 recipient. It takes incredible discipline, time management, skill, and drive to be the best on the ice and in the classroom to win this award and no one is more deserving than Cole.”
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. Past 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), Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie 2018) and Thomas Harley (Mississauga 2019).
Next in line for the award were a pair of other draft eligibles in blueliner Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters and forward Ethan Cardwell of the Barrie Colts.
All 20 of the OHL’s member clubs provide nominees for each award with the Bobby Smith Trophy nominees representing the 2019-20 OHL Scholastic Team:
2019-20 OHL Scholastic Team:
Barrie Colts – Ethan Cardwell
Erie Otters – Jamie Drysdale*
Flint Firebirds – Braeden Kressler
Guelph Storm – Owen Bennett
Hamilton Bulldogs – Gavin White
Kingston Frontenacs – Jakob Brahaney
Kitchener Rangers – Michael Vukojevic*
London Knights – Brett Brochu
Mississauga Steelheads – Ethan Del Mastro
Niagara IceDogs – Elijah Roberts
North Bay Battalion – Pacey Schlueting
Oshawa Generals – Lleyton Moore
Ottawa 67’s – Will Cranley
Owen Sound Attack – Ethan Burroughs
Peterborough Petes – Tye Austin*
Saginaw Spirit – Cole Perfetti*
Sarnia Sting – Benjamin Gaudreau
Soo Greyhounds – Rory Kerins
Sudbury Wolves – Jack Thompson
Windsor Spitfires – Jean-Luc Foudy*
*-two-time member of OHL Scholastic Team