The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced today its eight nominees - two per division - for the 2010 Junior Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually by USA Hockey to the outstanding American-born player in junior hockey.
The eight players, listed alphabetically by division below, will be pared down to four next week by the NAHL’s Junior Player of the Year Selection Committee.
The league’s final nominee will then be submitted to USA Hockey’s blue-ribbon coaches and administrators for consideration, along with candidates from every other USA Hockey-sanctioned junior league.
Jason Fabian, Forward, Bismarck Bobcats
In his second season with the Bobcats, Fabian finished ninth overall in league scoring with 58 points (24 goals) in 57 games for the Central Division regular-season champions. The 20-year-old from Roseau, Minn., has committed to the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.
Cory Thorson, Forward, Owatonna Express
Thorson, in his second year with the Express, tallied 24 goals for 54 points in 58 regular-season games. The 19-year-old from Crystal, Minn., has committed to St. Cloud State University (WCHA) for next season.
Garrett Ladd, Forward, Marquette Rangers
In his third year with Marquette, Ladd finished fifth overall in league scoring with 63 points on 23 goals in 55 games. The 20-year-old from Fenton, Mich., has committed to Bemidji State University (WCHA) for next season.
Garrett Thompson, Forward, Traverse City North Stars
In his third NAHL season, Thompson struck for 24 goals for 50 points in 57 regular-season games. The 19-year-old from Woodhaven, Mich., has committed to Ferris State University (CCHA) for next season.
Erik Higby, Forward, Topeka RoadRunners
A 20-year-old from New Braunfels, Texas, Higby, in his second NAHL season, won the league’s regular-season scoring title with 80 points on 27 goals for the South Division regular-season champions. He has committed to Northern Michigan University (CCHA) for next year.
Jared Rickord, Forward Springfield Jr. Blues
In second season with the Jr. Blues, Rickord, a 20-year-old from Skokie, Ill., finished third overall in league scoring with 68 points on 28 goals in 58 games. He has committed to Bentley University (Atlantic Hockey) for 2010-11.
Brandon Jaeger, Goaltender, Wenatchee Wild
In 29 appearances with the NAHL regular-season champion Wild, Jaeger, a 19-year-old from Champlin, Minn., fashioned a 22-3-1 record to compliment a league-leading goals-against average (1.83) and save percentage (.928).
Jake Parenteau, Defenseman, Alaska Avalanche
In his second season with the Avalanche, Parenteau led all NAHL defensemen in scoring with 47 points (16 goals) in 55 regular-season games. The 19-year-old from Shafer, Minn., has committed to the University of Minnesota (WCHA) for next season.