ESPN presents the best player in the world of the week. If there's a player you'd like to nominate, from your local team to a high school team to your beer league, email us here.
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (NHL)
The Flames are, excuse the pun, scorching hot these days, and the play of Gaudreau is a big part of that. The winger had two goals and six assists in four games last week in helping Calgary to a seven-game winning streak. The streak has, not coincidentally, also featured a seven-game point streak from Johnny Hockey.
Sébastien Sylvestre, Belfast Giants (EIHL)
Sylvestre, of the U.K. Elite Ice Hockey League, has appeared in this space before, but it's hard to deny a player that had five points in two games against the rival Nottingham Panthers, which included this incredible game-winner with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
- A View From The Bridge (@AVFTB) January 13, 2018
Taylor Raddysh, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
It's been a pretty good 2018 so far for Raddysh. He won gold with the Canadian World Junior team. Then, back in the OHL, he went on a nine-point tear last week that included four goals in three games. The 19-year-old right wing is a 2016 pick for the Tampa Bay Lightning, so look forward to him scoring a bunch of NHL goals in the near future, we'd guess.
Damara Machen (Onalaska, Wisconsin)
This one is for all the new hockey parents, from reader Chris Burks:
"I nominate my daughter Damara. She is an 8-year-old beginner mite playing her first year of hockey. I nominate her because she successfully made it through practice without crying, laying on the ice for no reason, or trying to sneak on the bench to skip drills. She even scored a goal in their little scrimmage."
Wish we could say the same for all NHL players ...
Dryden McKay, Madison Capitols (USHL)
McKay had an 86-save weekend for the Capitols, in going 2-0-0. He made 55 saves in a 4-1 win over Waterloo on Friday, and then 31 more on Saturday in a 4-1 win over Chicago. The Minnesota State-Mankato commit has 12 wins and a .912 save percentage this season.
Brandon Whiteman, Executive Fine Cars
As you know, the Player of the World of the Week is open to any and all players, from the pro leagues to the beer leagues. To that end, here's reader Drew MacFarlane on a hero from the Duluth, Georgia, AA Beer League:
"On his 33rd birthday, and just a few days after finding out he's going to be the father of a baby girl come June, Brandon had a four-point night to power Executive over Martian by the score of 9-4. Despite being a 'shoot first, pass never' player, his four assists were the talk of the league, catching literally everyone off guard. Including himself. Brandon's four points were the perfect complement to his overall stat line for the night: four points, three tumbles, four giveaways, a minus-3 rating, nine missed shots in warm-ups, 12 chicken wings eaten, five beers consumed, two tequila shots thrown back and one 24-ounce Smirnoff Ice guzzled while on one knee."
Let's see you match that stat line, Connor McDavid.
Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Cozens had nine points in three games last week, but it was his final game of the week against the Kootenay ICE that merits mention here. He scored his first WHL hat trick in that 5-2 win that accounted for his team's game-winning and insurance goals. The 16-year-old forward shares his name with an outfielder with the Philadelphia Phillies, who we hope one day is known as "the other Dylan Cozens" because hockey rules.
And the best player in the world of the week is ...
Now, who is Riley Scorgie?
She's an 11-year-old player with the Edmonton Girls Hockey Association Ice Guardians. She scored her 50th goal of the season on Friday, in just 19 games, which is a tremendous achievement. But it pales in comparison to what she overcame to get back on the ice.
Scorgie was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome last October. It's a disorder that attacks the immune system. As she told the Edmonton Journal, the syndrome affected her balance, as she couldn't run without falling to the ground after a short while. "I was really scared that I wouldn't be able to play hockey anymore," she said.
Once the ailment was diagnosed and treated, doctors said she might not be able to play hockey for a year. But Scorgie hit the ice again weeks later, building up her skating and strength. She convinced her parents to let her participate in the last day of tryouts.
She made a team, and the paper reports she's now symptom-free. She's also now a 50-goal scorer.
For this journey and for her perseverance, Riley Scorgie is the best player in the world of the week.
(Thanks to Teebz for the tip.)