Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce that Erie Otters overage defenseman Jacob Golden is the 2019-20 recipient of the Roger Neilson Memorial Award presented annually to the League’s Top Academic Post-Secondary Student.
Golden achieved a 95% average in his studies at Mercyhurst University, excelling in Intro to Psychology, Principles of Management, Intro to Sport Industry and Sport Governance programs. He achieved grades of at least 94% in all four areas of study.
“Excelling academically has always been important to me,” said Golden. “I accelerated the completion of my high school education to graduate a year early and began taking university courses in my rookie OHL season. Attending classes at the Western University when I was in London, and Mercyhurst University when in was in Erie, were memorable parts of my OHL career, and working towards a university degree while playing in the OHL was a great opportunity. I would like to thank the Otters for their support and commitment on the ice as well as in the classroom. It is an honor to represent the organization with this award.”
A 21-year-old native of Toronto, Ont., Golden recorded 27 points including four goals and 23 assists over 48 games in his fourth OHL season. The 5-foot-11, 180Ib. blueliner split his OHL tenure between the Otters and London Knights, posting 60 points (9-51–60) over 212 regular season contests. Golden was a fifth round (147th overall) pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2017 NHL Draft and was originally London’s 15th round (295th overall) pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midgets.
“Jacob joins a prestigious group of young men that have won an award named after the great Roger Nielson, an innovator of our great game and someone who placed a great deal of importance on academics,” said Otters general manager Dave Brown. “We are so proud and thankful for Jacob’s accomplishments academically and appreciative of the legacy and standards he has set for the future Otters moving forward. We wish Jacob the utmost success in his academic endeavors, career aspirations and are thankful to have him as a member of our alumni.”
The Roger Neilson Memorial Award is named in honor of the Hall of Fame Coach who served behind the Peterborough Petes bench in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Neilson, a former high school teacher, was a pioneer in stressing the importance of education to all of his players. The award was first presented to Ottawa 67’s goaltender Danny Battochio in 2004-05. Golden becomes the first Otters player to win the award since Derrick Bagshaw claimed the honour in 2006-07.
Finalists for the Roger Neilson Memorial Award include William Ennis of the Oshawa Generals, Eric Uba of the Guelph Storm and Billy Moskal of the London Knights.