In last night’s game against the Whitecourt Wolverines, the Thunder fans were treated to more than just hockey. They saw their votes in action as Thunder President Scott Carter and Vice President Steve McKort handed out the 2012-2013 Drayton Valley Thunder Hockey Awards to the most deserving recipients on the team just prior to the puck dropping.
The first recipient called upon to accept the Top Scorer Award was #20 Nathan Smith. What a great accomplishment Nathan! As of last night, Nathan is presently leading the Thunder pack with 48 points (13 goals and 35 Assists), sitting 5th overall in the North Division and 20th overall in the AJHL. Thank you Nathan for persistently adding spice to the game by constantly getting in your opponent’s face and pushing those buttons hard! You definantly added spark to each game. As a fan, I am looking forward to the sparks turning into lightning bolts next year.
The next award was for Rookie of the Year Award. First though, my apologies go out to #17 Trevor Poirier who was overlooked in my previous posting regarding AHJL’s announcements of the All-League and All-Rookie Team. Trevor Poirier was also selected as a member of the CCM North Division All-Rookie Team along with #1 Marc Olivier Daigle. Congratulations Trevor for such an achievement and now for the Rookie of the Year Award with the Drayton Valley Thunder. Trevor tied with Assistant Captain #7 Shane Brolly and #9 Brendan McKay for 5th spot on the Thunder Team Stats for points. Some of Trevor’s best accomplishments to the team did not show up on the score sheet. We will be looking forward to seeing you once again at the top of the leader board next year.
Following the Rookie Award was the trophy given for Most Improved Award and there was no doubt in that choice made by the fans. #12 Mason Malkowich was good last year, but this year he was outstanding in how he was able to dangle that puck up the ice and take on anyone no matter the size. Your stature on the ice reminds a person of our mascot- a pit bull on skates. Malke was a name often heard in the lobby during intermissions throughout the season. Mason went from being 16th at the end of last season to being 4th at the finish of this season in the Thunder leader board for points. That is huge Mason!!
Assistant Captin #7 Shane Brolly was the next player who skated up to the mat to accept a most deserving award. The Unsung Hero Award is meant for guys like Shane. It is for the guy who may not have gotten the recognition as Star of the Game or not in the top four for team stats but it is for players who are constantly giving 200% every single game. It is for the team players who are always grinding in the corners or for zipping that puck down the ice and passing it off to others in a better position to score. Shane created many opportunities. We will be looking forward to seeing more of this leadership next year Shane.
After the Unsung Hero Award, Assistant Captain #21 Eric Sieben was called upon not once but twice to accept an award. First was for the Top Forward Award and then again for MVP. This was no surprise as Eric has been always been a fan favorite due to his efforts and accomplishments on the ice in his five years with the Drayton Valley Thunder. Not many people reach 142 pts in 5 years along with 455 penalty minutes, and it’s not always that easy to find a player, who wants the game on his shoulders at the end, but this forward does and we could tell the coaches were never afraid to give him that responsibility. Eric did not only score 41 points so far this season but from what we have been told was also emerging as a leader in the locker-room. This forward undoubtedly had an impact in every game this season and he will continue to make an impact in whatever path life takes him. Eric, it has been a pleasure watching you grow and develop on and off the ice from a young boy of 15 when you first came five years ago to a very responsible mature adult of 20 that you are today. Good luck and best wishes in your future.
Eric Sieben wasn’t the only one who had the honor to repeatedly skate up to hold up some hardware—#25 Luke Madill also had the privilege. Luke was the recipient for the Heart and Soul Award as well as Top Defensive Award. This player has logged a lot of ice time as a defenseman in the 175 games he has as a Thunder player. Luke could be counted on in every key moment of a hockey game, whether it be trying to get a game tying goal or trying to defend a one-goal lead with 30 seconds left, this player was on the ice in all of those situations. He would go through a wall for his teammates and do anything to keep the puck out of his net; this player’s commitment to the defensive aspect of hockey was unquestionable in all three years he was here.
Then, if going up twice wasn’t enough, both #21 Eric Sieben and #25 Luke Madill deservingly went up one more time together. This time was for the Most Dedicated Award. Fans did not find this award on the ballot sheet as it was an award decided upon in the dressing room amongst the players. If one had to think of a definition of a dedicated player(s), the names Sieben and Madill would be the first to come to mind as it obviously did by their fellow teammates. Playing a large role in this year’s team, the dedication of the pair while on and off ice was rewarded with a tremendous growth in responsibility, playing on both the PP and PK on top of a regular shift. Their work ethic and the expectations each of them placed upon himself is like none other. Eric and Luke both consider the team first mentality which is a requirement in any team oriented sport making this one of the main reasons Eric and Luke were chosen for this award. You two are going to go far in life with this team attitude.
Last of all, is the Coach’s Award. There are many goals that are associated with hockey; with winning being one of the more obvious, however winning is not everything and it the coaching staff’s aim to develop good people. We want our players to strive for excellence on the ice, in the community, and in the way they carry themselves away from the rink. The player chosen as this year’s recipient of the Coaches Award has exemplified all of these characteristics and serves as a model for what this organization desires to achieve. For his excellence on and off the ice, the recipient of the Coaches Award was given to #27 Frederic Tanguay. Frederic, you are a sports person who best demonstrated, throughout the season, the true spirit of the sport. Congratulations in receiving one of the more honorable awards.
Now that the awards ceremony is over for another season, as a fan, I would like to thank the entire Thunder Team: the Thunder players, Head Coach Fran Gow and Associate Coach Mike Mueller, Thunder President Scott Carter and his team of Directors, Trainer Damon Pugerude as well as Marketing/Community Relations Andrea Barrett for a very entertaining regular season and am so looking forward to a heated playoff run.
I would also like to thank the continued support of our fans, our sponsors, and the committed volunteers as well for a season well done. Please give yourself a pat on your back for a job well done. I thank all of you for coming out and supporting your Drayton Valley Thunder this season. Without the hard work and commitment of everyone involved, there wouldn’t be a team that we can be proud to call our own. So now, all I can say is,