The North American Hockey League announced today its eight nominees - two per division - for the Dave Tyler 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.
The award is named after Dave Tyler, who served on USA Hockey’s Board of Directors for 32 years and played an instrumental role in the development and growth of junior hockey in the United States. He was elected as a Director Emeritus in 2007.
The last NAHL player to win the award was Springfield Jr. Blues forward Greg Rallo (2001-02).
David Bosner, Goaltender, Bismarck Bobcats
Bosner, an Air Force Academy recruit, fashioned a 24-7-1 record to compliment a 1.83 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage, helping the Bobcats to a Central Division regular-season championship. The 20-year-old from Chesterfield, Mo., was named the GDI Goaltender of the Month for January.
Alex Carlson, Forward, North Iowa Outlaws
In his second season with the Outlaws, Carlson, from Farmington, Mich., totaled 24 goals for 57 points in 52 regular-season games. The 20-year-old competed in this year’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Kyle Jean, Forward, Traverse City North Stars
Jean, a Lake Superior State University recruit, scored 22 goals for 43 points in 58 regular-season games. The 19-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is in his second NAHL season.
Brandon Saad, Forward, Mahoning Valley Phantoms
Saad, in his first season with the Phantoms, totaled 29 goals for 47 points in 47 regular-season games. The 16-year-old from Gibsonia, Pa., also played for Team USA at the 2009 World Under-17 Challenge.
Jon Gaffney, Forward, Springfield Jr. Blues
In his second season with the Jr. Blues, Gaffney led the team in scoring with 33 goals for 67 points in 56 regular-season games. The 20-year-old from Dover, N.J., also totaled 159 penalty minutes - fourth most in the league.
Keith Kinkaid, Goaltender, St. Louis Bandits
A 19-year-old Union College recruit from Farmingville, N.Y., Kinkaid, in his first NAHL season, helped lead the Bandits to their second straight regular-season championship, leading all NAHL goaltenders in wins (30), goals-against average (1.78), save percentage (.935) and shutouts (seven).
Austin Block, Forward, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Block, a 19-year-old from Northridge, Calif., in his second season with the Ice Dogs, led the NAHL in scoring with 73 points (29 goals) in 57 games to help Fairbanks to the West Division regular-season championship.
Nic Dowd, Forward, Wenatchee Wild
In his first season with the Wild, Dowd totaled 16 goals for 49 points in 43 regular-season games. The 18-year-old from Huntsville, Ala., was selected to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament but could not play due to injury.