Since the 1944-45 season, The Red Tilson Trophy has been handed out to the most valuable player in the Ontario Hockey League (called the Ontario Hockey Association previous to the 1980-81 season). In that time, only five players have been honoured with the Tilson Trophy more than once. All of these five players were awarded the Tilson in consecutive seasons.
The first of these rarities was Andre Lacroix of the Peterborough Petes. Lacroix was awarded the Red Tilson in 1964-65 and also in 1965-66. In 1965-66, Andre was also honoured with the Eddie Powers Trophy as the player with the most regular season points. Lacroix advanced to a National Hockey League career with the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Hartford Whalers. He is forever in the hockey history books as the World Hockey Association’s all-time leader in games played, assists and points.
It took until the start of the 1990’s for the next player to win the award twice. Eric Lindros of the Oshawa Generals did it in 1990-91 and 1991-92. Lindros went on to a great but short playing career in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, his NHL days were plagued with injuries which ultimately forced his retirement from the game without becoming the true superstar he was meant to be.
Alyn McCauley won two Red Tilson Trophies consecutively with the Ottawa 67’s during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. McCauley had a somewhat disappointing NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. McCauley was never able to reach his true potential as, just like Lindros, his career was plagued by injuries right from the start.
The new century ushered in the next two-time winner. Brad Boyes of the Erie Otters won the Red Tilson Trophy in 2000-01 and again in 2001-02. Originally a first round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boyes has played in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins. He is presently in his fifth season with the St. Louis Blues.
Directly following Brad’s two Red Tilson Trophy seasons, Corey Locke of the Ottawa 67’s did it. Locke took home the award in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Despite his success in the Ontario Hockey League, Corey has been in the lineup for just a handful of NHL regular season games to date, one with the Montreal Canadiens and three with the New York Rangers. Locke is currently in the Ottawa Senators system, playing with their American Hockey League farm club, the Binghamton Senators.
Will another two-time Red Tilson Trophy winner appear in the Ontario Hockey League? It certainly takes an exceptional player to accomplish this feat. The maximum length of an OHL playing career is just five seasons. The best players are usually drafted early and maybe play two to four years. It’s certainly possible we’ll see another two-time winner in the future but the odds can be strongly stacked against it.