TORONTO – The Canadian Junior Hockey League, in conjunction with the National Hockey League Coaches’ Association, announced Wednesday the names of the five finalists for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of CJHL Coach of the Year, for the 2022-23 campaign.
Presented annually by the CJHL and NHLCA, this distinguished honour is in memory of Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant Mark Cross, who were among those who sadly lost their lives following the tragic events of April 6, 2018.
Each of the finalists were determined through a voting process completed by the CJHL’s nine-member leagues, for their respective contributions over the course of the regular season.
The following are the nominees for CJHL Coach of the Year, which are listed alphabetically, by league:
Kyle Makaric, Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL): Makaric, 33, who hails from LaSalle, Ont., is in his second season as the head coach of the Junior Senators after joining the team in the Fall of 2021. … This season, Makaric helped lead the Junior Senators to a league-leading 42-8-3-2 record. … The Jr. Sens placed first over in fewest Goals Against (126) and Goal Differential (+92), while sitting second in Goals For (218). … In the special teams’ department, Ottawa finished tops in PP% (25.3%) and PP Goals For (56), while sitting second in PK% (87.5%). … Through two campaigns, Makaric has coached Ottawa to 85-16-5-4 record.
With files from Sean Marcellus, Director of Operations (CCHL)
Tyson Ramsey, Virden Oil Capitals (MJHL): After getting off to a slow start to kick off the 2022-23 regular season with a 10-15-0-0 record, Ramsey helped guide his club to a 25-7-1-0 record down the stretch to finish the season 35-22-1-0. … The Oil Capitals went from last in their division, to battling for the top spot with a couple weeks to play in the regular season. … Eventually, the Oil Capitals would finish in third place in one of the tightest divisions this season in the CJHL and booked their spot in the MJHL playoffs. … Ramsey was also named a coach at the MJHL Top Prospects Showcase and was selected to coach Team MJHL at the MJHL-SJHL Showcase in January.
With files from Eric Swar, Director, Marketing & Partnerships (MJHL)
Peter Goulet, Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL): Was named the 2022-23 recipient of the Mirl (Red) McCarthy Memorial Award as NOJHL Coach of the Year. … After taking over the reigns of the Voodoos in early July, he made an immediate impact in joining the Powassan organization and the NOJHL. In stepping behind the bench, Goulet led the Voodoos to 37 victories this season, despite having a later start in helping prepare his line-up. … This was a seven-win improvement for the club in his first year with the squad. … The team discipline for the veteran Jr. A head coach saw Powassan register the fewest penalty minutes in the league, at just 486, with none of his players picking up a suspension throughout the regular season. … To date, Goulet’s efforts have also already helped six of his players earn scholastic and hockey-related opportunities, at the next level, for next season.
With files from Scott Marshall, Statistician/Webmaster) (NOJHL)
Vince Bellissimo, Toronto Jr. Canadiens (OJHL): Excellence and development sum up Vince Bellissimo’s exceptional Jr. A coaching career. Wins? The 40-year-old coached the Jr. Canadiens to back-to-back regular season championships in the 22-team Ontario Junior Hockey League. … Their record this year was a sparkling 45-5-2-2. … In 2017-18, Bellissimo coached the Aurora Tigers to a 36-12-1-5 record in the OJHL, good for 1st in the North East Conference. … In the playoffs, he led the Tigers to the North East Conference Finals before losing to the eventual Buckland Cup Champion and National Finalists, the Wellington Dukes. … Equally important to Bellissimo is graduating his players to the next level. … Three members of his 2021-23 teams will play Division I hockey beginning next year at RIT in Rochester, NY. … Others committed to DI Brown and Notre Dame. Owen Saye recently committed to the Western Mustangs in U SPORTS. … Bellissimo, who played in the OJHL was a four-year man at NCAA Division I Western Michigan. … He then played eights seasons pro in North America and Europe. Was a 5th round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2002.
With files from Jim Mason, Director of Communications (OJHL)
Brayden Klimosko, Battlefords North Stars (SJHL): For the third year in a row Brayden Klimosko was been named the SJHL’s Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association Coach of the Year. … The North Stars run at the top of the SJHL standings during the 2022-23 regular season was nothing short of incredible. … With no losses in regulation time until the 2023 portion of the schedule, and 15 weeks as the No. 1-ranked team in the CJHL, Battlefords had a tremendous campaign. … Klimosko’s North Stars finished the season with an impressive overall record of 48-5-2-1.
With files from Jeromy Corigan, Director, Media (SJHL)
Earning honourable mention recognition for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award for CJHL Coach of the Year, presented in conjunction with the NHL Coaches’ Association, for 2022-23 were the following:
Shawn Martin, Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL); Robert Dubuc, Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ); Laurie Barron, Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL) and Kurt Walsten, Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL).
ABOUT THE NHL COACHES’ ASSOCIATION (NHLCA): The NHL Coaches’ Association is the professional organization that provides support and assistance to the head, assistant, goaltending and video coaches of the 32 teams in the National Hockey League. Recognized and supported by the NHL, the NHLCA and its members seek to develop future coaches, give back to the hockey community, and grow the game of hockey globally. One of the Association’s primary objectives is to help develop all hockey coaches from the youth level up to the highest levels of hockey, as the NHLCA strongly believes that coaches are important leaders within their communities, serving as role models at every level of the game. Together, the NHLCA and their members are committed to supporting all coaches in their initiatives of guiding, motivating, and inspiring players of all ages.
Photo credit: Chris Dawson