Anthony Mantha, a 19 year old winger playing with the Val-d’Or Foreurs, was awarded the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the year award Saturday.
Mantha had 81 goals in 81 games in addition to 77 assists throughout regular and postseason games. These amazing stats helped Foreurs become the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions.
“For sure I’m proud of that,” Mantha said. “It’s a lot of goals, but the credit needs to come back to my teammates that helped me out through this year. I think it was just a great season. I put a lot of pressure on myself by leading the team on the ice, off the ice also.”
Mantha beat fellow nominees Sam Reinhart of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice and Connor Brown of the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters.
Sadly, the Foreurs were eliminated from the MasterCard Memorial Cup the same night Mantha accepted the award. The Foreurs were beat 4-3 in a triple overtime game against the Edmonton Oil Kings, marking the longest game in Memorial Cup history at 102:42 minutes played.
Receiving the award the day after losing a chance at the Memorial Cup was probably a bittersweet moment for Mantha. However he wanted to thank his teammates for helping him get to where he is today.
“It’s a trophy that my teammates helped me out to win this year and I need to give them the credit.”
Mantha was drafted in the first round, 20th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 NHL entry draft. Having experienced the Red Wings training camp, Mantha believes this helped his game tenfold.
“Last year, I would say a lot of critics were on my consistency level,” Mantha said. “When I went to Detroit they tried to put that mentality in me and I think it did work for this year. I came back with that attitude and it was just a great thing for me.”