Everett Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf, Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Thomas Harley, and Charlottetown Islanders netminder Matthew Welsh are the 2019 finalists for the CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year Award.
It was a season of success for Wolf as the Silvertips netminder excelled both on the ice and in the classroom, where he maintained a 100% average in a Grade 12 course load covering English, Statistics, Economics, and American Government. Overall, Wolf posted a 98.8% average over his high school years. For his efforts, he was presented with the Daryl K. Seaman Trophy, awarded to the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, the 2018-19 campaign saw Wolf notch a 41-15-2-2 record to lead the WHL in victories while also tying the franchise single-season win record. Wolf also sat atop the WHL in goals-against average (1.69) and save percentage (.936). In December, Wolf was named the WHL Vaughn Goaltender of the Month, while this season he was also a six-time recipient of the WHL Eli Wilson Goaltending Goaltender of the Week award and a three-time honouree as the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week.
Originally selected in the fifth round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Wolf has come away with 54 wins in 81 career appearances across two seasons with the Silvertips. The 18-year-old Californian is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft and ranks 12th among North American goaltenders per Central Scouting.
Harley took home the Bobby Smith Trophy, presented to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year, as the budding blue-liner combined on-ice success with academic excellence in 2018-19. In the classroom, Harley achieved an 88% average grade across six university-level courses, including Advanced Functions, Interdisciplinary Studies, Biology, English, Geography, and Chemistry.
On the ice, the draft-eligible defenceman undoubtedly continued to impress talent evaluators as he put up 11 goals and 47 assists for 58 points in 68 appearances, then added another four helpers in the Steelheads’ quarter-final matchup versus the Sudbury Wolves. In all, Harley finished third in team scoring and ranked eighth among all OHL rearguards. Ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft, the native of Syracuse, N.Y., projects as an early selection as he ranks 11th among North American skaters.
In two seasons with the Steelheads, the 17-year-old has tallied 12 goals and 61 assists for 73 points in 130 career games. The Steelheads originally selected Harley with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.
When not stopping pucks, Welsh was getting it done in the classroom as the 19-year-old business management student at the University of Prince Edward Island maintained a 90 percent average across four courses, helping him claim the Marcel Robert Trophy after finishing as a finalist in 2018.
At the rink, Welsh wrapped up his fourth season with Charlottetown by posting a 32-19-2-3 record in 56 games, coupled with a 2.90 goals-against average and .902 save percentage, to help lift the Islanders to their seventh consecutive playoffs appearance. In four seasons with the Islanders, the native of Halifax, N.S., has made 174 career appearances, coming out on the winning side 99 times.
The Islanders originally selected Welsh with the 37th overall pick in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.