Oakville’s Misa named OHL rookie of the year


Published May 5, 2023 at 3:51 pm

Oakville native and Saginaw Spirit forward Michael Misa won the Emms Family Award on Friday, presented to the OHL's Top First-Year Player. NATALIE SHAVER/OHL IMAGES PHOTO

As far as first impressions go, Oakville native Michael Misa’s first year in the OHL was impressive enough to garner him one of the league’s major awards.

The Saginaw Spirit centre was named the winner of the Emms Family Award on Friday (May 5), presented to the OHL’s Top First-Year Player as voted by league general managers.

Misa, who was Saginaw’s first overall pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, led all rookies in the league with 56 points, including 22 goals and 34 assists in 45 games.

The underage player was just the sixth player to be granted exceptional player status into the OHL by Hockey Canada.

The exceptional status is granted to a player whose qualities not only on the ice, but as a person and deems the player deserving of the rare privilege of participating in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) at a young age.

Misa’s 1.24 points-per-game are the highest rate of any of the OHL’s six exceptional status players during their first year, surpassing the benchmark of 1.18 previously held by John Tavares of the 2005-06 Oshawa Generals.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honour and I couldn’t have done it without all the help from my teammates and coaching staff supporting me throughout my first year,” said Misa, who turned 16 in February.

“I’m super excited for what’s ahead with this group and I can’t wait to get started next year.”

The five-foot-11, 160-pound winger led the Mississauga Senators to the OHL Cup in 2021 and he didn’t wait long to make an impact in the major junior league, scoring twice in his first career game against the Guelph Storm on Oct. 1 (2022).

Misa went on to record points in each of his first three games and went on to be named the OHL Rookie of the Month for October.

“As an organization we are extremely proud of Michael for winning this award,” said Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill. “Since the day we drafted Michael he has done everything we have asked of him and more, both on and off the ice. It is not easy to succeed in this league as a first-year player, especially one that was granted entry to the OHL a year early, but Michael’s skill and drive to be the best allowed him to adapt quickly.

“He is an outstanding, humble young man that is very deserving of this recognition and we could not be happier for him.”

Misa is the first player in Spirit franchise history to win the Emms Family Award and follows present-day NHL players in Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie 2018), Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2015), Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2014), Connor McDavid (2013) and Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2012) in receiving the honour.

Guelph Storm defenceman Cam Allen was the 2021-22 award-winner.

Finalists in this year’s voting included forwards Liam Greentree of the Windsor Spitfires and Porter Martone of the Mississauga Steelheads, who each tied for second-place.

Misa is the OHL’s nominee for the CHL Rookie of the Year Award, which will be presented at the CHL Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 3 during the 2023 Memorial Cup which takes place in Kamloops, British Columbia.

He will be formally presented with the Emms Family Award at the OHL’s Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, June 14 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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