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Bob Boughner named OHL Coach of the Year

(Toronto) The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Bob Boughner of the Windsor Spitfires is the recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL’s Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season.

Boughner is awarded the trophy for the second straight season leading the Spitfires to their best regular season in franchise history with a record of 57-10-0-1 for 115 points where they ranked first overall in the OHL to capture the Hamilton Spectator Trophy. His team won 16 more games and earned 21 more points than the 2007-08 season when he won both the Matt Leyden Trophy as well as the Brian Kilrea Trophy as the CHL Coach of the Year.

Boughner, a 38-year-old Windsor native, is in his third year behind the bench after purchasing the Spitfires along with Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich in 2006. He guided them to an 18-43-2-5 record in his first season followed by a 41-15-7-5 record last season.

Boughner played three seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds graduating in 1991. He was a second round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 1989 and played 10 seasons and 630 games in the National Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche before retiring in 2006.

The Spitfires opened the season with six straight wins and followed that up with a 13-game winning-streak and a season-high streak of 14 consecutive wins that began December 19th and stretched through January 29, 2009. This was just the second time in franchise history that the Windsor Spitfires hockey club finished with more than 100 points. The 1987-88 Spitfires team finished 50-14-2 for 102 points and won the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL Champions.

Past winners of the Matt Leyden Trophy include five-time winner Brian Kilrea of the Ottawa 67’s, Craig Hartsburg, Jacques Martin, George Armstrong and Terry Crisp. The last back-to-back winner of the award was Dale Hunter who won in both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. Boughner is still the only coach of the Spitfires to win the award.

The Matt Leyden Trophy is voted on by the member teams of the Ontario Hockey League. In a first round of balloting, teams vote for the top coaches, within their own conference. The top three nominees from both the Eastern and Western conferences are declared as finalists. A second round of voting is then conducted on a league wide basis where teams vote for any of the six finalists. At no time during the voting can a team vote for their own candidate. Coaches receive five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.

Boughner received 58 points in the voting process ahead of George Burnett of the Belleville Bulls who finished second with 38 points, slightly ahead of Michael Vellucci of the Plymouth Whalers with 34 points.

The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually since 1972, to the Coach of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League. The award is in recognition of the contributions of Matt Leyden, past President of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1965-1967. The Oshawa native was honored as a lifetime member of the OHA in 1972.

Boughner will be formally presented with the award at the 2008-09 OHL Awards Ceremony taking place Wednesday June 3 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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