GMHL Players of the Month: November 2022December 2nd, 2022 at 1:31AM December 2nd, 2022 7:32AM
The Greater Metro Junior 'A' Hockey League has announced the second 'Players of the Month' of the year for November of this 2022-2023 hockey season.
The 'Players of the Month' honors is a distinction awarded to the player who is adjudged the best at his position & rookie (2005 born and younger and first year of junior hockey) through each month of the season.
(All stats listed as of December 1st, 2022)
Forward – Ryan Fritz, North York Renegades
Renegades forward and Assistant Captain Ryan Fritz has set the league ablaze with his scoring so far this season with 24 Goals and 36 Assists for 60 points already in just 20 games for the South division leading scorer. This includes a November in which he scored 22 Points (8G, 14A), helping his team go 8-0-0 and stay in 1st place including scoring the game winning goal against the rival Bradford Bulls. Prior to joining the Renegades Fritz has a successful junior career with the Siskins program in the GOJHL Junior B. The Mississauga local also played elite level AAA in the GTHL and SCTA leagues.
Defenceman – Declan Flanagan, Knights of Meaford
Knights second year blue liner Declan Flanagan has helped the Knights establish themselves as one of the best teams in the North Division since they started play in October. The knights are 5 games over .500 thanks in no small part to Flanagan and his 25 Points on this season (including 8 goals which almost ties his career high of 9 last season). Of those 25 Points he scored 11 in November tallying 4 Goals and 7 points in the month while helping his team score victories over tough Pirates and Titans teams that are just ahead of the Knights in the standings. Before coming to Meaford Flanagan had a multi-year junior B career in the CCHL2/EOJHL where he played following his time playing minor hockey in AA Kanata and AAA Pembroke.
Goaltender – Oliver Balazs, Bradford Rattlers
2004 born Oliver Balazs has a near sparkling record on the year for the 1st place Bradford Rattlers with November proving to be his best month ever in hockey. The Hungarian net minder appeared in 7 games in November, he went 7-0-0 in those games with a shutout, a Goals Against Average of 1.50 and a Save Percentage of .948%. That shutout in the month came against what was at the time the 1st place Ville-Marie team that the Rattlers would eventually overtake in first place during last weekend play. His season numbers on the year are a 10-1-0 record (1st in Wins in Division, 2nd in League), with a 2.23 GAA (1st in Division, 4th in the league and a .924 SV% (1st in Division, 5th in the League). Before joining the Rattlers Balzs had been a member of the IIHF Hungarian National Team at the U16 & U17 levels. Balazs has spent the previous three seasons at the top U18 level in Hungary with Vasas SC participating in 59 matches.
Rookie – Aidan O’Rourke, Mackenzie Mountaineers
The undefeated Mackenzie Mountaineers have already matched last season’s entire win total at 10 on the year, a big part of this is the influx of extremely talented young players they brought in. Near the top of that list is 2005 born forward Aidan O’Rourke. In November alone O’Rourke had 24 points split evenly between goals and assists including 2 hat tricks to help his team to a 6-0 record on the month. That output brought his season total to 36 Points (21 being Goals) in just 10 games. O’Rourke is experiencing a huge breakout in his premier season of junior hockey joining the Mountaineers from Ottawa where he played in the OBMHL for Nepean and West Carleton.