Storm defenceman Ryan Merkley named OHL rookie of the year

Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

TORONTO — Guelph Storm defenceman Ryan Merkley has been named the 2017 Ontario Hockey League rookie of the year.

The 16-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., led all OHL rookies and was eighth among the league’s defencemen with 55 points (12 goals, 43 assists) in 62 games. 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.

"Being selected as OHL rookie of the year is a special honour, but one that Ryan richly deserves," said Guelph general manager Mike Kelly. "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."

Merkley earned 75 of a possible 95 voting points, ahead of forward Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs (44 points) and forward Allan McShane of the Oshawa Generals (24 points).