Only three times has a European been named MVP of the Memorial Cup but Leon Draisaitl has become the second in a row to win the Stafford Smythe Trophy.
The trophy honours the most valuable player from the final series of the Memorial Cup, Canada’s premier junior ice hockey club championship.
The German No. 3 draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers had already won the Playoff MVP award of the Western Hockey League after leading the Kelowna Rockets to the championship with 10 goals and 28 points in 19 playoff games. The 19-year-old joined the Rockets after having been reassigned by the Oilers in January after 37 NHL games.
Last year Latvian forward Edgars Kulda, the brother of national team defenceman Arturs, won the trophy. Previous winners include Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall, Corey Perry and Alexander Radulov, who became the first European to win it in 2006.
Despite Draisaitl’s four goals and seven points in five games, his magic wasn’t enough to earn Kelowna the national title.
“It doesn’t soften anything. I would have much rather won the Memorial Cup than win this trophy,” Draisaitl told Castanet News after the lost final.
"It's very hard. It takes a little while to sink in, but I think we can all be very proud of what we've accomplished all year."
The Oshawa Generals won the round robin with a clean 4-0 record. Kelowna beat host Quebec Remparts 9-3 in the deciding game to determine the second finalist but Oshawa defeated Kelowna 2-1 in overtime in the final.
Czech prospect Tomas Soustal opened the scoring for Kelowna at 15:08 of the first period but then Anthony Cirelli became the player of the game. Midway through the second frame he scored the game-tying goal and 88 seconds into overtime the 17-year-old Woodbridge, Ontario native netted the game winner.
Oshawa goalie Ken Appleby had 37 saves as Kelowna outshot its opponent 38-26.