The North American Hockey League announced today its four nominees for the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, which is presented annually by USA Hockey to the outstanding American-born player in junior hockey.
The four players, listed alphabetically below, have been submitted to USA Hockey’s blue-ribbon coaches and administrators for consideration, along with candidates from every other USA Hockey-sanctioned junior league.
Adam Cardwell, Forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats
The veteran forward from Long Beach, Calif., won the NAHL’s scoring title this season with 91 points (32 goals) in 56 games. He was also a plus-29. Cardwell, 20, will attend the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (CCHA) this coming fall.
Aaron Gens, Defenseman, Topeka Roadrunners
The veteran defenseman led all NAHL blueliners in scoring this season with 58 points (12 goals) in 53 games. The 21-year-old from Baudette, Minn., also led the league with a plus-41 rating. Gens will attend the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (CCHA) next season.
Cody Reichard, Goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The 21-year-old goaltender from Celina, Ohio, fashioned a 33-15-2 record this season to compliment a 2.05 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. He also led the NAHL with seven shutouts. Reichard will attend Miami University (CCHA) next season.
Ben Warda, Forward, St. Louis Bandits
The second-year forward led the NAHL’s regular-season champions in scoring with 31 goals for 74 points in 58 games. He was also a plus-29. Warda, 20, will attend Michigan State University (CCHA) next season.
The award is named after Dave Tyler, who served on USA Hockey’s Board of Directors for 32 years and played an instrumental role in the development and growth of junior hockey in the United States. He was elected as a Director Emeritus in 2007.
The last NAHL player to win the award was Springfield Jr. Blues forward Greg Rallo (2001-02).