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Guelph Storm's Ryan Merkley named OHL rookie of the year

Defenceman led all rookies in scoring this past season
20170217 storm vs. barrie 2 ts
The Guelph Storm's Ryan Merkley heads up ice against the Barrie Colts Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, at the Sleeman Centre. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

The Guelph Storm's Ryan Merkley is the Ontario Hockey League's Rookie of the Year.

Merkley, 16, led all OHL rookies this past season with 55 points in 62 games, scoring 12 goals and 43 assists.

His 55 points were eighth best among OHL defencemen.

He became the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in scoring, and is the first OHL defenceman since London’s Rick Corriveau in 1987-88 to lead all rookies in scoring, the OHL said in a news release.

“It is an honour to be selected as the OHL Rookie of the Year,” said Merkley. “Knowing that there are so many talented first year players, makes the award extra special.  I would like to thank my teammates and the Storm organization for all their help and support.”

The Mississauga native, selected first overall by the Storm in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, is just the second member of the organization to earn the award following fellow Storm first overall pick Jeff O’Neill during the 1992-93 season. Merkley’s 55 points are the most by a Storm 16-year-old since O’Neill’s 79 during his first campaign.

“Being selected as OHL Rookie of the Year is a special honour, but one that Ryan richly deserves,” said Mike Kelly, Guelph’s departing General Manager, in the news release.

“Even as a 16-year-old, Ryan was a critical part of a very young Guelph Storm Hockey team, and he provided our fans, and fans throughout the OHL with some spectacular hockey memories. As good as Ryan was this past year, he will be even more special in upcoming seasons.”