Saint Mary's Huskies forward Mitchell Balmas was named the recipient of the A.J. MacAdam Trophy as the Atlantic University Sport men's hockey rookie of the year on Wednesday.
The Sydney product finished with the second-most points in the conference, recording 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 27 games with the Halifax-based university.
Balmas becomes only the second Cape Breton-born player to win the league's rookie of the year. Michael Kirkpatrick of North Sydney first won the award with the St. Francis Xavier X-Men of Antigonish during the 2011-12 season.
Prior to the joining the Huskies, Balmas played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League between the Charlottetown Islanders, Gatineau Olympiques, Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Balmas won President Cup and Memorial Cup titles with the Titan in 2018. His best offensive season in the QMJHL came last year with Cape Breton, where he recorded 43 goals and 82 points in 64 games.
Balmas will now be the Atlantic conference's nominee for the U Sports rookie of the year award. AUS players have earned the national honour the last two years with Moncton's Étienne Monpetit winning the award last year, while New Brunswick's Kris Bennett earned the honour in 2017-18.
Along with the rookie of the year award, Balmas was also named to the league's first all-star team as well as the all-rookie team.
Other major award winners include Acadia's Logan Flodell (most valuable player), Moncton's Vincent Deslauriers (most sportsmanlike player), Acadia's Liam Maaskant (student-athlete community service award), and Acadia's Darren Burns (coach of the year).
AUS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR WINNERS:
• 2019-20 - Mitchell Balmas, Saint Mary's
• 2018-19 - Étienne Monpetit, Moncton
• 2017-18 - Kris Bennett, New Brunswick
• 2016-17 - Hunter Garlent, Saint Mary's
• 2015-16 - Phil Gadoury, Dalhousie