**PRESS RELEASE – ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE**
April 13, 2023, Mississauga, ON – Riley Patterson of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s North York Rangers has been voted the OJHL’s 2022-23 Rookie of the Year, the league announced today.
Patterson, who played in the OJHL All-Star Game in January, was named to the league’s First All-Prospect Team this spring
Patterson, who turned 17 last month, led the Rangers in scoring this season with 30 goals and 43 assists in 52 games. The 6-foot forward scored four game-winning goals and five shorthanded markers.
The youngest player on a very youthful North York roster is a prospect for the 2024 NHL Draft.
Patterson committed early this season to the NCAA Division 1 Michigan State Spartans for 2024.
Patterson was named OJHL Warrior South-East Conference Player-of-the-Month for November after he tallied 16 points during 10 games
“Riley displays maturity beyond his years,” North York head coach Michael Henrich told the OJHL. “He gives our team an opportunity every game to remain competitive and win. A leader amongst his teammates he is respected for his skill and drive to succeed.
“We are fortunate to have him as a part of our group. Every day with Riley around pushes everyone to be better at everything they do and as a result he looks on himself to improve. The future is bright with him and everyone is excited and interested to see the result of the work he puts into the game.”
Patterson shares that love.
“Looking back on my first year, it’s pretty surreal,” Patterson told the OJHL’s Jim Mason. “Junior hockey is a big step. But I felt prepared. I put a lot of hard work in during the summer. I was going into a new team, but the coaches were confident in me. They gave me the opportunity to excel at the level and I tried to run with it. I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough. They all made the transition easy.”
Highlights included playing at the All-Star Celebration in Collingwood where he competed in the fastest skater competition and making the playoffs.
His NHL role models include Matthew Tkachuk and Nathan MacKinnon.
“Tkachuk is the power forward of our generation, “Patterson said. “He’s putting up 100-plus points but also being that guy who gets in the corners, wins the battles and sticks up for his teammates. And he’s a good leader. He’s a high-end talent but he also has that grit game to him, which I like to bring.
“MacKinnon has the hands, the speed. Always moving, always thinking and making the right plays.”
The Grade 11 student at Appleby College in Oakville has been off the ice since his Rangers were eliminated from the postseason. He’s working on his marks and his golf game and enjoying playing lacrosse this spring.
Paterson and family have moved six times, with stops including Montreal and London, ON. His minor hockey resume naturally includes multiple club and school teams with tournament appearances at The Brick, The Show and The Triple Crown. But the family is now living back in Burlington where Riley was born.
Patterson will be honoured along with the other OJHL award recipients at a ceremony during the OJHL Nutrafarms Championship Series in late April.