TORONTO – The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), in conjunction with the National Hockey League Coaches’ Association (NHLCA), announced Monday the names of the six finalists for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of CJHL Coach of the Year, for the 2023-24 campaign.

Presented annually by the CJHL and NHLCA, this distinguished honour serves in memory of Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant Mark Cross, who were among those who sadly lost their lives following the tragic events of April 6, 2018.

Each of the finalists were determined through a voting process completed by the CJHL’s nine-member leagues, for their respective contributions through the course of the regular season.

The following are the six nominees for CJHL Coach of the Year:

Shawn Martin, Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) – Martin was named AJHL coach of the year for a second consecutive season. … The efforts of the Whitecourt head coach & GM helped his side become AJHL regular season champions for the first time in franchise history. … The Wolverines completed the 2023-24 campaign with a record of 34-18-4-1 and 73 points. … The team also led the AJHL in wins (34); fewest goals-against (152); shutouts (7) and penalty kill proficiency. (83.6%). … Martin initially joined the Wolverines as an assistant coach in 2017-18 before taking over as GM / Head Coach in 2019-20. … He also had previous coaching stints with the St Albert Steel; Grande Prairie Storm and Sherwood Park Crusaders in the AJHL as well as with the LaRonge Ice Wolves (SJHL).

With files from Charla Flett, Executive Director (AJHL)

Mike Reagan, Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL) – Reagan earlier won SJHL Coach of the Year honours for 2023-24. … Also serves as the Bombers’ general manager. … The Flin Flon product guided his hometown Bombers to a club-high 44-9-2-1 record. … They claimed their third division title in the last four seasons. … Also captured the league’s regular season title. … At one point during the campaign, Flin Flon was slotted No. 1 nationally in the CJHL Top 20 rankings, for 16-straight weeks.

With files from Jamie Neugebauer & Clark Munroe, Co-Directors of Media (SJHL)

Kyle Brick, Blind River Beavers (NOJHL) – Guiding Blind River to their first-ever NOJHL regular season title, Brick’s side went 45-12-0-1 overall. … The Beavers allowed the fewest goals-against during the regular season at 148, through 58 games, and their 284 tallies scored was just one off the NOJHL lead. … His efforts behind the bench earned him league coach of the year honours. … Brick was also named a 1st NOJHL All-Star at both coach and general manager positions. … Special teams work saw Blind River end-up fourth in power play proficiency (25.2%) and third on the penalty kill (85.2%). … The Beavers were 40-3-0-1 when scoring first in a game and only lost once when ahead after two periods.

With files from Scott Marshall, Statistician (NOJHL)

Mark Joslin, Brantford 99ers (OJHL) – Joslin took over as head coach of the OJHL’s Brantford 99ers in the summer of 2023. … The 99ers’ record went from 5-46-1-2 in 2022-23 to 26-26-0-4 this season. … The 99ers went from cellar dwellers in the then 22-team league to a playoff squad. … His four previous seasons with the Toronto Patriots included being named OJHL Executive of the Year in 2018. … Joslin has also coached with the OJHL’s North York Rangers, Aurora Tigers, Pickering Panthers and Stouffville Spirit.

With files from Jim Mason, Director of Communications (OJHL)

Marty Abrams, Navan Grads (CCHL) – Hailing from Kingston, Ont., Abrams has showcased his exceptional leadership in his sixth season with the Navan Grads. … Under his guidance, the team achieved a league-leading 36-9-3-2 record, finishing first overall in the 12-team CCHL. … Boasting impressive offensive and defensive statistics, the Grads were tops in the league in goals for (235) and were third in fewest allowed (144). …  Special teams saw Navan end up third on the penalty kill (86.1%) and fifth in power play success (19.7%).

Marty Abrams is among the winningest head coaches in CJHL Junior A history; Abrams collected his 899th win behind the bench on the same night the Navan Grads captured their 1st CCHL Championship in team history!

With files from CCHL Communications

Phil Fife, Amherst Ramblers (MHL) – Taking over a team that missed the MHL Playoffs in 2022-23, Fife overhauled the roster and led the team to a 21-point improvement, which was the second-best advancement in the MHL. … The Ramblers went from 16-30-4-2 and a fifth-place finish last season to 27-20-3-2 in 2023-24 to ending up second in the MHL’s Eastlink South Division. … Amherst scored 61 more goals this season with 204, while allowing only fifteen more. … The Ramblers had the sixth-best power play rate (23.2%), improving from second-worst at 17.6% in 2022-23. … The Ramblers were also sixth on the P.K. (78.0%) in the MHL this season. … In winning MHL Coach of the Year honours, this marked the first time an Amherst head coach had won the league award since 1989-90.

With files from James Faulkner, Director of Communications (MHL)

Earning honourable mention recognition for the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award for CJHL Coach of the Year, presented in conjunction with the NHL Coaches’ Association, for 2023-24 were:

Simon Labrecque, Everest de la Côte-du-Sud (LHJAAAQ); Eric Labrosse, OCN Blizzard (MJHL); & Carson Johnstone, Sioux Lookout Bombers (SIJHL).

 The NHL Coaches’ Association is the professional organization that provides support and assistance to the head, assistant, goaltending and video coaches of the 32 teams in the National Hockey League. The NHLCA and its members seek to develop future coaches, give back to the hockey community, and grow the game of hockey globally. One of the Association’s primary objectives is to help develop all hockey coaches from the youth level up to the highest levels of hockey, as the NHLCA strongly believes that coaches are important leaders within their communities, serving as role models at every level of the game.


Martin: Whitecourt Wolverines / AJHL

Reagan: Kelly Kocur Jacobson

Brick: Sault This Week

Joslin: Michelle Malvaso / OJHL Images

Abrams: Étienne Ranger

Fife: Amherst Ramblers

Press Release on CJHL website: Click HERE