April 30, 2024

Draft eligible Zayne Parekh named OHL’s top defenseman

Zayne Parekh has added some hardware ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft.

The Saginaw Spirit defenseman, No. 11 in FCHockey’s Midterm ranking for the 2024 draft, was announced as the 2023-24 recipient of the Max Kaminsky Trophy, awarded to the Ontario Hockey League’s defenseman of the year as voted by league general managers.

“I am very honoured to be recognized for this award, there’s so much talent in this league and I’m extremely grateful to be selected,” Parekh said in a release.

“I’d like to thank my family, agent and the people within my support group that have helped me so much this year. I especially want to thank the Saginaw Spirit organization, the fans, ownership, staff, and especially the players. Without the group around me, I wouldn’t have had the same success I had throughout the year.

“I’d like to extend a big thank you to my head coach Chris Lazary and my general manager Dave Drinkill for helping develop me into the player I’ve become and for always having belief and trust in me.”

Parekh, the first Saginaw player to ever win the honor, led all OHL blueliners in goals (33) and points (96), with each landing as a Spirit single-season record for defensemen. He also led all rearguards with six game-winning goals.

He is just the second defenseman in OHL history to score more than 30 goals in his first season of NHL Draft eligibility, joining John Slaney in 1989-90.

“What made Parekh’s season so special was his ability to display his creativity and dynamic offensive instincts on a nightly basis,” FCHockey regional Ontario scout Mike Kennedy said. “His smooth skating, hockey IQ, and puck handling are collectively impressive to behold while he activates from the back end.”

Parekh will be the OHL’s nominee for the Canadian Hockey League defenseman of the year award, announced at the CHL Awards Ceremony to be held at the 2024 Memorial Cup.

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