Waterloo Black Hawks Player Honored as USHL Player of the Year
Twenty-year-old Brandon Montour proved he could make an impact anywhere on the ice during the 2013/14 United States Hockey League season, and Tuesday the USHL recognized his abilities by conferring upon him both its Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year titles.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the University of Massachusetts recruit owned a +35 plus/minus differential, best among Waterloo skaters and ranked third among league defensemen. Offensively, Montour recorded 62 points, the ninth-highest total among all players during the 60-game schedule and 40% more than the next most prolific defenseman. The Ohsweken, Ontario native was named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Week on six separate occasions for his efforts, and recorded the longest point streak of any league player at any position: 18 games from December 13th through February 9th.
“There is no aspect of the game where Brandon didn’t make us a better team this season,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “He has wonderful physical abilities, as well as a terrific mind for the game, and together those two things always seem to put him in the right position.”
During the playoffs, Montour has continued to produce for the Black Hawks. He is tied for the lead in league scoring with teammate Tyler Sheehy at 14 points. Montour’s nine assists are also a USHL-best, and his +7 plus/minus mark is tied for third on the circuit.
This is the second consecutive season that a Black Hawk has been named the USHL’s Player of the Year. In 2012/13, the honor went to forward Taylor Cammarata. Jason Blake (1994) and Peter Ferraro (1992) are the only other Waterloo players to earn the distinction. Montour also joins Blake Kessel (2008), Doug Schmidt (1997), and John Gruden (1990) as one of four Black Hawks to win the league’s Defenseman of the Year award. It is only the third occasion in league history that a player has been recognized with both honors.
After his special year, Montour has steadily risen as a 2014 NHL Draft prospect. Ranked 186th on NHL Central Scouting’s January list of North American skaters, he sprang to 92nd in the final report issued in April. The draft will be conducted June 27th and 28th in Philadelphia.
Montour helped the Hawks to the franchise’s second Anderson Cup and a club record 44 victories in 2013/14. Waterloo is currently facing the Indiana Ice during the best-of-five Clark Cup Finals. The Hawks are seeking to win that title for the first time since 2004. With the series tied at one win apiece, Game Three will be played in Indianapolis on Friday.
The USHL’s annual awards were determined by a vote of league coaches and general managers.