Skates have been sharpened, sticks have been taped and another season of Canada’s official winter sport is well underway at all levels. Our B.C. Hockey League Clippers are so far hovering around the .500 mark, as are the NHL Canucks under new head coach John Tortorella. And I have to point out that my Leafs aren’t looking too bad in these early days…
Of course another season of minor hockey is also up and running, with local arenas home to hundreds of young players in the various age categories of recreational and competitive teams. Heading up the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association this year is president Roberta Bortolotto, assisted by registrar Dawn Borelli and secretary/treasurer Kyla Becia.
Other directors include Dave Bortolotto, Jennifer Pow, Tom Russell, Steve Paul, Rick Hodgson, Tracey Klymchuk, Janelle Olson and Erin Maki.
In charge of the initiation (age 5-6) division this season is Jason Vance. Jody Windley oversees the novice (age 7-8) group, Sean Dupuis the atom (aged 9-10) division and Kim Darbyshire the peewee (age 11-12) category. The bantam (age 13-14) division is co-ordinated by Karen vanGyzen and the midget (age 15-17) group by Doug Tyce. Peter Creighton is head of the competitive division and Sonia Branter looks after the female division.
Overseeing everything at the minor hockey office located at the Nanaimo Ice Centre is Vicky Long and my thanks to her for passing along information from the association’s annual general meeting. In addition to the election of the above executive, awards were presented to recreational and competitive players from last season, as well as coaches and referees.
Recreational player awards saw the Larry McNabb Memorial Trophy for a graduating midget player presented to Shaun Anderson and the Jason Gow Memorial Trophy for a graduating bantam player given to Benjamin Skinner. Drew Hnatyshyn was the top graduating peewee recreational player, with Drayden Cairns getting the award as top graduating atom player. Honoured as top graduating midget female recreational player was Calista Branter, top graduating bantam female was Jordan Labas and top graduating peewee female recreational player was Sara Spencer.
From the competitive division, the Don Sarkasian Memorial Trophy for the top graduating player in the bantam age group was given to Josh Burgmann. Will Cookman from the peewee division was chosen to receive the Dick Robinson Memorial Trophy, while the Eric Kneen Memorial Trophy for the top graduating atom competitive player was Campbell Arnold. The Bud Dumont Award for the top graduating midget player was presented to Adam Davison.
Coaching awards saw the Ted Holder Memorial Trophy as most valuable coach in the competitive division given to Jamie Davis. Most valuable coach in the midget division, receiving the Frank Crane Memorial Trophy, was David Lussier. The President’s Trophy as most valuable bantam division coach went to Alan Banks. Mike Savage took home the Civic Arena Trophy as most valuable coach in the peewee division and Ryland Wellwood received the Cliff McNabb Memorial Trophy as top coach in the atom division. Coach of the Year trophies were presented to Mitch Heslop from the initiation division, Dave Boehm from the novice division and Jason Battie from the female division.
Rounding out the Nanaimo Minor Hockey awards, Nicole Wicks was recipient of the Mentorship Award. From the association referees, Josh Boutin was recognized as Most Improved Official, while Jared MacDonald was chosen as Rookie Official of the Year. Honoured with the Referee of the Year award was Jordan Wood.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.