NIA 052413 JR SABRES ART

Courtesy OJHL Images / Amy Deroche JR. SABRE HONORED: Buffalo Junior Sabres forward Tyler Gjurich, seen here in a March playoff game, will be honored next month as the Ontario Hockey Association's Player of the Year. Gjurich, who scored 53 goals last season, begins his college career at Maine this fall.

Buffalo Junior Sabres forward Tyler Gjurich, who will enroll at the University of Maine this fall to begin his college hockey career, has been named the Junior-A Player of the Year by the Ontario Hockey Association, which oversees several Ontario-based leagues including the Ontario Junior Hockey League, in which the Jr. Sabres compete.

Gjurich will receive the award at a ceremony on Friday, June 7 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Scoring 53 goals and 44 assists last season, Gjurich led the Jr. Sabres and entire Ontario Junior Hockey League in scoring. His scoring prowess was instrumental in Buffalo's first-ever regular season first-place finish in the OJHL West Division. Only one other player has scored 50 or more goals for the Buffalo-based junior franchise — Brian Gionta, now captain of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, who achieved the feat in 1997 when the team was known as the Niagara Scenics.

Gjurich becomes only the second Western New York based junior hockey player to earn this honor by the OHA. Chris Moran, who later enrolled and played hockey at Niagara University, became the first local honoree in 2005.

It's the second top honor for Gjurich this spring, who hails from Hatfield, Pa. but played midget hockey in Western New York with the Buffalo Regals. Last month, he was named Most Valuable Player by the OJHL.

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