May 7, 2023

2025-eligible Michael Misa named OHL’s top first-year player

Michael Misa has left an impression on the Ontario Hockey League.

Misa, a top prospect for the 2025 NHL Draft, has been named recipient of the Emms Family Award, presented annually to the OHL’s top first-year player as voted by the league’s General Managers, for the 2022-23 season.

The 16-year-old led all rookies with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists) in just 45 games this season.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honour and I couldn’t have done it without all the help from my teammates and coaching staff supporting me throughout my first year,” Misa said in a release. “I’m super excited for what’s ahead with this group and I can’t wait to get started next year.”

Misa, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, became the sixth player to be granted exceptional player status to play in the OHL by Hockey Canada, competing as the league’s lone 2007-born player during the 2022-23 season.

His 1.24 points-per-game are the highest of any of those six players, surpassing the previous mark of 1.18 points-per-game held by John Tavares with the Oshawa Generals in 2005-06. For comparison, Connor McDavid averaged 1.05 points-per-game, and Shane Wright landed on a 1.14 mark. Defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Sean Day were the other two granted exceptional status into the OHL.

“As an organization we are extremely proud of Michael for winning this award,” Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill said. “Since the day we drafted Michael he has done everything we have asked of him and more, both on and off the ice. It is not easy to succeed in this league as a first-year player, especially one that was granted entry to the OHL a year early, but Michael’s skill and drive to be the best allowed him to adapt quickly. He is an outstanding, humble young man that is very deserving of this recognition and we could not be happier for him.”

Previous Emms Family Award winners include Andrei Svechnikov (2018), Alex DeBrincat (2015), Travis Konecny (2014), McDavid (2013), and Ekblad (2012). Cameron Allen was the 2021-22 award-winner.

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