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 Kitchener Rangers

Rangers' Sop Awarded Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy as Overage Player of the Year

April 12, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Kitchener Rangers News Release

Kitchener, ON - The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Kitchener Rangers forward Matthew Sop is the 2023-24 recipient of the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy awarded to the League's Overage Player of the Year as voted by OHL General Managers.

The 21-year-old Kitchener native racked up 43 goals and 90 points over 67 games in his third full season in the league. He finished tied with teammate Carson Rehkopf for the league-lead in game-winning goals with 10 and was knotted with Sudbury's Quentin Musty for the most overtime goals with five.

"This recognition from the league means a lot to me," said Sop of the award. "I am really honoured to receive it, but I definitely could not have gotten it without all of my teammates and coaches around me."

Sop's production climbed over each of his three OHL seasons, starting with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points) as a rookie in 2021-22, climbing to 56 points (23-33-56) in 2022-23 to 90 (43-47-90) this past season, giving the former seventh-round pick in 2019 a total of 169 points (76-93- 169) over 203 regular season games with his hometown Rangers.

"We are so excited and proud of Matthew on this individual accomplishment," said Rangers General Manager Mike McKenzie. "It has been tremendous to see the growth in his game throughout his career with the Rangers and this is well-earned recognition for a great season.

"Also, as a seventh-round pick, it is fitting this award will be handed out on OHL Draft weekend," McKenzie added. "Matthew is another example that development looks different for everyone and players that aren't top picks can still make a big impact."

Sop becomes the fourth player in Kitchener Rangers history to earn Overage Player of the Year recognition, following Jason Akeson (2010-11), Andre Benoit (2004-05), and Joey St. Aubin (1990-91).

The Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy was first presented in 1984. It was donated by the trainers of the Ontario Hockey League, in memory of the late Leo Lalonde, former Chief Scout of OHL Central Scouting. Leo Lalonde was also former Chief Scout for the Belleville Bulls as well as a scout for the Peterborough Petes.

Sop joins a list of other accomplished recent recipients, including last year's winner Matthew Maggio of the Windsor Spitfires, North Bay Battalion graduate Brandon Coe (2021-22) and former Ottawa 67's forward Austen Keating (2019-20).

The Rangers are currently in the second round of the 2024 OHL playoffs after defeating the Erie Otters in the first round. They fell in London to the Knights in a tightly contested game one on Thursday night but look to bounce back on Saturday in game two. The Rangers will host games three and four at The Aud. You can secure your seats to the playoff action at The Aud Box Office Sponsored by White Way Plumbing or online.

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