Orillia's Colby Barlow continues to etch his name in the history books.
The former local minor hockey player became the first member of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack to win the Canadian Hockey League's (CHL) Scholastic Player of the Year Award.
"It's pretty special. It's a pretty special award to win and to be the first (from the Attack) to win it is pretty cool," Barlow, 18, told reporters after accepting the award Saturday night at the annual CHL awards gala in Kamloops, B.C., as part of the Memorial Cup festivities.
The CHL Scholastic Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the CHL player who is best able to combine success on the ice with success in the classroom. Earlier this year, Barlow earned the OHL's Scholastic Player of the Year named in honour of Bobby Smith.
Barlow, the youngest captain in the history of the Owen Sound Attack, finished this past year with an overall average of 93 per cent across his Grade 12 university-level courses.
Barlow, who was named Orillia's 2022 athlete of the year, said time management is critical when you're a student athlete.
He said it's vital to make "sure your getting all your work done while you're at school ... to the best of your ability. It's pretty important to have that balance so you're clear-minded while you're playing."
On the ice, Barlow led the Attack with 79 points this season. Ranked 12th on the NHL Central Scouting’s final list of North American players eligible for this year’s NHL Draft, the rugged winger tallied 12 game-winning goals this season, which placed him in a tie for the CHL lead with Jordan Dumais of the Halifax Mooseheads
Barlow, who is now off to Buffalo for the NHL Combine, is looking forward to the draft later this month in Nashville.
"It's an exciting time. I've been dreaming about this for a very long time," Barlow said.
Barlow was one of four OHL players to win one of the CHL's 10 major awards.
Barrie Colts forward Evan VIerling won the CHL Sportsman Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the player judged to be the most sportsmanlike player among the CHL’s 60 clubs.
The 20-year-old finished this season with a career-high 95 points (35G, 60A) while only collecting 12 penalty minutes. He was just the ninth player in Barrie Colts history to record 60 assists in a single season. Vierling is the first player from the Colts to win this award since it was first given out in 1990
Dave Cameron of the Ottawa 67s won the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year award.
In just his second season with the 67’s, Cameron led Ottawa to an OHL-best record of 51-12-3-2 for a franchise-record 107 points this past season. His 67’s also allowed a CHL-low 171 goals this season, and his team’s penalty kill operated at 84.1 percent — good for second-best in the CHL.
Dalyn Wakely of the North Bay Battalion won the CHL's Humanitarian of the Year Award, which is presented to the CHL player judged to have made the most notable contribution to his community.
Through his Wake’s Sake initiative, Wakely and his Battalion teammates worked at a community kitchen every Tuesday from November through the end of the regular season to prepare and serve meals to the city’s homeless and low-income populations.
Additionally, the Wake’s Sake initiative held monthly donation drives to benefit underserved populations in the region, raising a final tally of $2,100 in monetary donations for the Gathering Place. Over 600 winter coats, 450 mitts and gloves, 400 hats, and more than 2,000 hygiene products were also generously donated by Battalion fans at the North Bay Memorial Gardens as part of Wakely’s initiative.
The big winner at the CHL awards was, not surprising, Connor Bedard.
The presumed No. 1 pick of this year's NHL draft earned the CHL's Top Prospect, Top Scorer, and David Branch Player of the Year awards. It's the first time since the top scorer award was introduced in 1994 that a player has won all three in a single season.
The winner and finalists of each award are determined by the winner of the corresponding award presented in each member league: the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League.