Nelson Junior Leafs hand out awards
It wasn’t the conclusion the Nelson Junior Leafs were looking for, but Tuesday night at the Hume Hotel the team put an official end to the 2012-13 season with its awards banquet.
More than 150 players, parents, team officials, volunteers and fans packed into the historic Hume banquet room for the event.
Nelson Leafs Society president Russell Stocks told the room that he was proud of the team’s effort in the 2012-13 season and felt the way the players conducted themselves over the last few months confirmed that Nelson has a “first-class organization.”
Leafs head coach Frank Maida spoke about the team’s successes over the campaign that included an 11-game winning streak in first half and the team’s ability to hold onto top spot in the league for the majority of the 52 games. Like Stocks, the coach congratulated the players on representing Nelson in a positive manner both at home and on the road.
As for the Leafs inability to advance in the playoffs — Nelson lost to Beaver Valley on Friday night in Game Six of the opening round that knocked them out of the running — Maida said “it happens.”
A pair of highlights of the evening included Leafs’ security mainstay Art Broster receiving the Jim Keinholtz Memorial trophy for volunteer of the year. Also, four-year-old superfan Jack Boyes took a turn at the microphone and delighted those in attendance when he identified every player by name and number simply by looking at the team photo.
Capping off the evening were the team awards where were as follows:
MVP – Linden Horswill
Most Popular Player – Matt MacDonald
Rookie of the Year – Brett Soles
Dedication to Hockey/Education – Cam Weir
Unsung Hero – Aaron Dunlap
Top Defenceman – JJ Beitel
Most Spirited Player – Kyler Wilkinson
Most Sportsmanlike – Bryce Nielsen
Most Improved – Greg Nickel
Coaches Selection – Matthew Naka
Leading Scorer – Colton Schell
MVP Playoffs – Brett Soles
After the trophies were handed out the team also honoured the three 20-year-old players who played out their junior hockey careers last week. Schell, Weir and Marcus Beesley were given their game jerseys and team watches.