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RB Canadians dripping with hardware after NOJHL awards

Managing director Blaine Smith says he’s ‘honoured’ to receive an award named for his mentor

The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced its 2019-2020 season awards on March 11.

The Carlo Cattarello Trophy, the league’s highest individual honour for the most valuable player, went to Caleb Serré of the Blind River Beavers.

But the Joe Drago Trophy, named for the vice chair of Hockey Canada who also happens to be from Sudbury, went to the Nickel City’s own Blaine Smith, a senior advisor with the Rayside Balfour Canadians, and the long-time GM and president of the Sudbury Wolves.

The Joe Drago Trophy is presented to the NOJHL director of the year.

The league said Smith’s efforts also helped Rayside-Balfour claim a West Division title, while bolstering the club’s off-ice success along the way and contributing to league matters and the betterment of the NOJHL.

“I am honoured to receive the Joe Drago NOJHL Director Award,” Smith told “Joe Drago was a mentor of mine when I broke into the OHL back in the early ’80s. I have really enjoyed working with the NOJHL executive and all of the dedicated owners and directors that make this league so great.  I look forward to continuing to offer the NOJHL my many years of junior hockey experience.”

Smith credited the Canadians organization for providing him with a strong team, including new owner (and former Wolves owner) Mark Burgess and GM Jeff Forsyth.

 “I walked into a great organization here as new team owner Mark Burgess having already assembled a great staff including the coaching staff and GM Jeff Forsyth. Jeff will be a GM in the OHL one day because he such a great recruiter. He is also very hard-working, honest and cares about his players,” Smith said. “Our office manager, Brittany Zacerkowny, has done such great work for the team including marketing, promotions and game day operations, alongside of team volunteer Julie Dubois.  

“It is so nice working with all of the loyal and genuine people that were already in place when I arrived here with the Canadians.”

The other 2019-2020 award recipients are:

NOJHL Trophy – Best Defenceman:
Mattias Salem, Espanola Express
John Grignon Trophy – Rookie Of The Year (1st Year Playing Jr. Hockey):
Nicholas DeGrazia, Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Gilles Laperriere Trophy – Most Improved Player:
Josh Dickson, Timmins Rock
Mitch Tetreault Memorial Trophy – Top Defensive Forward:
Derek Seguin, Timmins Rock
Wayne Chase Memorial Award – Best Goals-Against Average:
Tyler Masternak, Timmins Rock
NOJHL Team Goaltending Award (Fewest Goals Allowed): 
Timmins Rock
Jimmy Connors Memorial Trophy – NOJHL Scoring Champion:
Caleb Serre, Blind River Beavers
David Harrison Trophy – Most Gentlemanly Player:
Tomas Yachmenev, Powassan Voodoos
NOJHL Trophy – Best Overall Team Player:
Mattias Salem, Espanola Express
Mirl “Red” Mccarthy Memorial Award – NOJHL Coach Of The Year
Dave Clancy, Espanola Express
James Aspin Trophy – Nojhl Regular Season Champions:
Powassan Voodoos
Gary Hall Memorial Award – NOJHL East Champion:
Powassan Voodoos
William Sidney Jones Memorial Trophy – NOJHL West Champion:
Rayside-Balfour Canadians

1st All-Star Team

Forward: Caleb Serre, Blind River Beavers
Forward: Parker Bowman, Powassan Voodoos
Forward: Nicholas DeGrazia, Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Defence: Mattias Salem, Espanola Express 
Defence: Josh Anderson, Timmins Rock
Goaltender: Owen Say, Powassan Voodoos
General Manager: Jeff Forsyth, Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Coach: Dave Clancy, Espanola Express
Trainer/Equipment Manager: Chris Seguin, Espanola Express/J.J. Johnson, Powassan Voodoos/Ginette Trottier, Rayside-Balfour Canadians

2nd All-Star Team

Forward: Tomas Yachmenev, Powassan 
Forward: Dominic Skrelja, Soo Eagles
Forward: Jacob Kovacs, Soo Thunderbirds 
Defence: Zachary Snow, Rayside-Balfour Canadians 
Defence: Hayden Clark, Soo Eagles 
Goaltender: Tyler Masternak, Timmins Rock
General Manager: Derek Callahan, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Coach: Max Gavin, Powassan Voodoos
Trainer/Equipment Manager: Lacey Rigg, Timmins Rock/Carla Vine, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners/Tom Bain, Rayside-Balfour Canadians