Here we are into July and hockey is still very much in the headlines. The playoffs seemed to stretch on forever until the Boston Bruins blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the finals to win the Stanley Cup. Disappointment for all those who jumped on the Canucks bandwagon, but jubilation for Bruins fans who celebrated their first Cup win since 1972. I can imagine how they must have felt, since my team (Go Leafs Go) hasn’t won it since 1967.
There was also joy in Winnipeg, as fans there celebrated the return of the Jets to that city. And excitement for all franchises a week ago with the entry draft. For the second year in a row, the Edmonton Oilers had first pick and they chose Burnaby’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Also following the playoffs came the NHL awards night, where the Canucks took home several awards. But Anaheim’s Corey Perry edged Daniel Sedin to collect the Hart Trophy as league MVP and to nobody’s surprise Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas added to his playoff MVP Conn Symthe honour by receiving the Vezina Trophy.
The conclusion of the local hockey season also brought with it year-end awards and my thanks to office administrator Vicky Long for passing along information from the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association’s annual general meeting. At the AGM, awards were made to recreational and competitive players, as well as coaches and referees. Players and teams from boys’ and girls’ hockey were recognized, so we’ll start by acknowledging boys’ awards…
Recreational player awards saw the Jason Gow Memorial Trophy for a graduating bantam player presented to Caelen Large. The top graduating peewee player was Joel Allen, while the award for a graduating atom player went to Spencer Atto. A new award this year was the Larry McNabb Memorial Trophy for the top graduating midget recreational player and it was awarded to Dan Yurkiw.
From the competitive division, the Don Sarkasian Memorial Trophy for the top graduating player in the bantam division was given to Nick Gomerich. Brendan Jennings from the peewee division was chosen to receive the Dick Robinson Memorial Trophy, while the Eric Kneen Memorial Trophy for the top graduating player from the atom division went to Jaden Little. The Dumont family presented the Bud Dumont Award to Cole Newman, honoured as the top graduating player from the midget division.
With coaching awards, the Ted Holder Memorial Trophy as most valuable coach in the competitive division was given to Chris Mitchell. Most valuable coach in the midget division, receiving the Frank Crane Memorial Trophy, was Al Ouellette, while the President’s Trophy as most valuable bantam division coach went to Mike Komen. Steve Marsh took home the Civic Arena Trophy as most valuable coach in the peewee division and chosen to receive the Cliff McNabb Memorial Trophy as most valuable atom division coach was Les Aitken. Coach of the Year trophies were presented to Dave Boehm from the initiation division and Steve Marsh from the novice division. As for referee honours, Jordin Wood was recognized as Most Improved Official. Steve Rozzano was named as Rookie Official of the Year and the Referee of the Year award went to Matthew Caillet.
The past season was another very successful campaign for Nanaimo Minor Hockey and one which saw several local teams compete at provincial championships. Local fans got to enjoy the B.C. midget Tier 1 boys’ championship hosted at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The host team did well, posting a 2-2-1 record to place third in the province. Players on the Nanaimo Pacific Boat Clippers were Landon Dalman, Brandon Manhas, Brayden Hughes, Brett Vestby, Colton Burt, Daniel Foglietta, Garrett Dunlop, Gibson Doney, Jackson Robinson, Jonathan Speer, Kyle Kennedy, Lucas Franssen, Matthew Lumsden, Jake Kaese, Lee Orpen, Denon Maximchuk, Tyson Kleisinger and captain Cole Newman. Trent Kaese was head coach for the squad, assisted by Travis Clark, Bob Foglietta, Brad Knight and Pat McMinn, with Peter Newman the team manager.
Nanaimo’s bantam Tier 1 Clippers won the Island championship this season and went on to provincials at Abbotsford. Zed Malenica was head coach for the boys, assisted by Chris Calverley, Steve Paul, Jake Lussier and Glen Smith. Team manager was Lawrence Pearson and players were Dade Beaudry-Young, Zac Bayko, Patrick Bajkov, Nolan Richardson, Joel Heathcote, Nik Malenica, Liam Somerville, Kyle MacDonald, Coleman Doney, David Osborne, Brandon Parker, Liam Giroux, Nicolas Gomerich, Andrew Dancy, Jake Calverley, Jonah Pearson and captain Dayton Boutillier.
Next week we’ll acknowledge top local girls’ teams, players and coaches.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair and show good sportsmanship.