Syvret OHL's top defenceman

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

Danny Syvret says what the London Knights accomplish is more important than his personal accolades.

But when you add the two, the Knights captain is enjoying the best year of his life.

Syvret became the fifth Knight to win the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the top OHL defenceman yesterday. The winner is selected by team managers. Syvret beat out Andre Benoit of the Kitchener Rangers and Kyle Quincey of the Mississauga IceDogs.

The award came on the same day the Knights advanced to the OHL championship for the third time in their 40-year history.

The Knights beat the Rangers 6-0 last night to win the Western Conference final in five games. They now face the Ottawa 67's for the league championship.

"Being a part of this team and the streak and what we've accomplished, and then Team Canada and the gold medal -- this year's been a pretty successful one for the team as well as myself," Syvret said, referring to the Knights' CHL record 31-game unbeaten streak and playing for the gold-medal-winning Canadians at the world junior hockey championship.

"Hopefully, it may be one of the best junior careers of anyone." He agreed it has been the best year of his life "so far."

"There's still a month left."

An OHL and Memorial Cup championship would make it unforgettable.

Syvret, who scored London's third goal last night, added an assist and also caused a penalty shot for putting his hand on the puck in the Knights crease, although the Rangers' Justin Azevedo didn't score on the shot.

"John Erskine was the last London Knight (to win the top defenceman award in 2000) and obviously he's had a successful career. Everyone remembers him in London, so, hopefully, down the road I'll be the name people remember," he said.

Syvret led the league in plus-minus rating with a plus-70. He had 23 goals and 46 assists in 62 games, second among OHL blue-liners.

The undrafted 19-year-old wants to parlay the award and his outstanding year into an NHL contract. "I hope I get that chance."

On hand to congratulate him last night was his father.

"This is a proud moment," said Dave Syvret, giving his son a handshake and a hug for a photo.

There was more good news for the Knights yesterday. Team assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu will act as assistant coach with Ontario's under-17 team, which will play in the world hockey challenge in December in Saskatoon.

"This is the grassroots to the world juniors," said Beaulieu, who received a two-year appointment.

Beaulieu, who has been with the Knights for four years, was chosen from 15 candidates and was one of three shortlisted.


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