The Trail Smoke Eaters recent BC Major Midget League (BCMML) commitments certainly look promising after BC Hockey announced its league and team awards earlier this month.
Smoke Eaters commits Cameron Moger of the Okanagan Rockets earned the league’s most prestigious award as Player of the Year in the BCMML, while Zack Feaver was awarded Team MVP and Players Choice Award for the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, and Ethan Willoughby received the Coaches’ Choice Award for the same Thunderbirds.
Trail commited to all three players in early February, a deal that should pay dividends when the 2020-21 season gets underway.
In his first season with the Okanagan Rockets, Moger led all BCMML defenceman in scoring with 10 goals and 47 points. The 17-year-old from Vernon finished 11th overall, and was named to the BCMML All Star Team.
Moger’s presence was noted around the league as he was overwhelmingly voted the top defenceman in the program.
“This was the most fun year of hockey I’ve ever had,” said Moger in a BCHockey release. “Our team was awesome; it was a really good group of guys. I played with two (2) defense partners and they were amazing and it really helped me out a lot and our forwards were incredible.”
“We rallied together and started playing for each other. So many players could have won this award.”
For the Smoke Eaters, Moger’s and Willoughby’s six-foot-two frames will be a much needed commodity on their blue line after losing a number of top-end defencemen this past season.
“It was great to see Cam be recognized for the season he put together with the Rockets this year,” said Smoke Eaters assistant GM, Jeff Urekar in a release. “His 47 points are extremely impressive when you realize he is sitting tied for fourth all time for offensive production by a defenceman.
“I was able to watch him play a lot this year. He really stood out at the Mac’s tournament where he was consistently one of, if not the best player on the ice most games. His mix of physicality and vision with the puck made it easy to watch him control the play when he was on the ice. When you look at the past players to have been selected MVP or player of the year in the MML it is a very distinguished list so we are very proud to see a future Smoke Eater join that list.”
Feaver skated in his third season with the Thunderbirds and tallied a career high as captain, with 15 goals and 52 points in 39 games. He finished first on the T-birds and fourth overall in BCMML scoring, earned team MVP and Player Choice awards, and has grown into a proven leader on and off the ice.
Willoughby, also from Chilliwack, received the Coaches Choice Award for the Thunderbirds. Willoughby spent last season with the Abbotsford Pilots before moving to Major Midget with the Thunderbirds for the 2019 season. A reliable and steady presence on the blueline, the big defenceman tallied four goals and 15 points to go with 54 penalty minutes.
“Ethan is a very positive hard working kid and seeing him receive this award just goes to highlight how strong of a character this young man has,” said Urekar.
The Coaches’ Choice Award goes to the player that shows the greatest level of personal improvement, work ethic, and embraces the team-first mentality.
“Ethan isn’t a flashy offensive player but you have to appreciate the details in his game to see just how much of an impact on the game he has. He makes a great first pass, defends extremely well and logs a lot of hard minutes much similar to the way Powell Connor would for us. It is great to see (coaches) Peter and Mike with the Thunderbirds show the same value and appreciation in Ethan’s game as we have,” added Urekar.