The North American Hockey League announced Monday night the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament banquet that Topeka RoadRunners forward Erik Higby has been named its Most Valuable Player for the 2009-10 season, as selected by the league’s coaches and general managers.
Higby was also selected as the NAHL’s nominee for the 2010 USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year Award, named Forward of the Year and to the All-NAHL Team.
Higby, a 20-year-old from Shelby Township, won the NAHL’s regular-season scoring title with 80 points on 27 goals. His plus-36 rating also led the NAHL.
“Erik is a special type of player,” said RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer. “His vision and abilities on the ice are tremendous, but what really sets him apart is the way he goes about his business. He's focused, determined, intelligent, and he quietly leads by example.”
Higby, who participated in January’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, has committed to Northern Michigan for next season. His on-ice performance earned him NAHL South Division Player of the Week honors three times this season.
“Erik’s production on the scoresheet is what the casual fan first sees, but it’s his demeanor with his teammates and with the public that sets him apart,” Langer added.
Higby’s point total and 53 assists (second in the NAHL) also set team records for the RoadRunners, who won the league’s South Division regular-season title.
“For a player who led the league in scoring and rewrote pages of the organization’s record book, he's quite humble,” said Langer. “He does all these things and is a solid citizen off the ice. What more can a coach or an organization ask for?”
Also recognized at the banquet was forward Tanner Kero of the Marquette Rangers, as the Michigan Tech recruit was named the NAHL's Rookie of the Year.
In his first Junior A season, Kero, a 17-year-old from Hancock, led the NAHL with 32 goals while totaling 51 points in 57 games for the North Division regular-season champions.