By Pat Payton
St. Marys Minor Hockey Association recently announced eight of its 10 Major Award winners for the 2019-20 season.
“Although we are not able to present these awards in person right now, we hope to host a recognition event when we can safely return to the arena,” SMMHA president Kristene McCurdy told the Independent. “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners for your achievements this season. We extend our best wishes to all players and families to stay safe and healthy during these challenging times.”
Two major award winners still haven’t been announced by the SMMHA. They are: the Pethick Memorial Award for outstanding contribution and dedication to minor hockey, and the Ferris Stewart Coaching Excellence Award for coach-of-the-year.
Bob Searles Award for most outstanding player in the SMMHA
Captain and centre Nathan Reay, of the Cement ‘BB’ Midgets, is this year’s winner. Coach Brent Rae said Reay was always a player he could count on.
“Nathan led us in goals, assists and points, and also led us in shots, too,” Rae said. “But he was also a guy you could put out in any situation and trust that he was going to do his job. It didn’t matter whether we were on the powerplay or the penalty-kill or needed to win a key face-off in our own end.
“He was a leader as a second-year Midget, so that shows his character and personality, too,” the coach added.
Donald K. Mossip Memorial Award for outstanding goalie
Sharing the award this season are Kiefer MacNeil (ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams) and Nicolas Kiestra (Legion A-E Midgets).
“For the most part, Kiefer was our only goalie; we had two affiliates who came up and helped us,” Bantams’ coach Dale Switzer said. “Kiefer was engaged and played well all year for us.
“And he improved over the season. We had Hunter Bodenham as a goalie coach this year, and those two clicked really well. That was a big plus for Kiefer as well.”
Legion Midgets’ coach Bob Davis said Kiestra was also a deserving winner.
“Nic was a pleasure to coach this year,” Davis said. “He played hard at practice and in games. He rarely missed ice time and always showed up ready to play.
“He accepted coaching readily. When our other goalie (Nolan Shackleton) was injured, he stepped up and took on the extra role with no complaints. Nic was a goalie who could steal you a game — the kind of goalie you always hope you get.”
Terry Crisp Award for most colourful and hardest-working player
Defenceman Noah McLeod, of the Legion A-E Midgets, is the 2019-20 winner.
“Noah was an excellent player to have on our team,” Davis said. “He gave 100 percent every time he stepped on the ice. He was a true team player and accepted playing whatever position he was given.
“He was also a keen learner. Noah would find a way to extract every ounce of talent he had in order to get the job done. He was exciting to watch and elevated the play of his teammates when on the ice. He is very deserving of this award.”
Mike Mattiussi Award for most sportsmanlike player, on and off the ice
Winger Finn Stewart (ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams) and defenceman Scott McClelland (Cement ‘BB’ Midgets) share the award this season.
Coach Switzer said Stewart was “always a happy, upbeat” player for the Bantams.
“Finn never took bad penalties or did something in a game that was unsportsmanlike,” Switzer said. “He never yapped at the referees or talked back to the coaches; he was always in a good mood. He always cheered on his teammates, and played the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Coach Rae said McClelland was a good steady blue-liner for his team.
“Scott’s not going to do anything flashy on the ice, but he always does his role,” Rae said. “He’s a kid who never said anything bad about anyone. He was one of the nicest kids on the team, and you never heard a bad thing about him from any of his teammates, either.”
The Cement Midgets played 46 games this past season, and the coach noted that McClelland only picked up four penalty minutes. “That shows his character, too,” Rae added.
Dixies Award for most skillful and hardest-working player in the SMMHA
Defenceman Anna Standeaven, of the ABS Tracs Bantams, is this year’s winner.
“We nominated her because of her work ethic,” coach Don Scott said of the strong puck-rushing blue-liner. “Anna came to play every game. She was always ready, prepared, and gave an honest effort.
“She was also very coachable. If you talked to her about doing something, she would always do it or try to do it. She’s a good kid who always listens,” Scott added.
Ernie Little Trophy for outstanding goalie
The winner is Kayley Thompson, of the Hubbard Pharmacy Midgets. One of two 17-year-olds on the team, Thompson was the Midgets’ captain. She posted the shutout in the team’s final game, a 3-0 victory over Stratford which earned the St. Marys girls a berth in the Provincials.
“She is that kind of leader,” coach Bill McPhail said. “She is just a great kid who came to the rink every night and worked hard and was fun to be around.”
Lindsay Atkinson Memorial Award for most sportsmanlike player, on and off the ice
Defenceman Megan Morning, a first-year Midget with the Hubbard Pharmacy team, is this year’s winner.
“She always came to the rink with a smile on her face, a phenomenal person,” McPhail said. “I had her play wing and defence and she’d do whatever you asked of her. She was a solid player in her own end and she controlled the play.”
Doug Hicks Memorial Trophy for outstanding leadership by a player
This year’s winner is centre Ally Muir, of the Hubbard Pharmacy Midgets.
“She came back to play her final year of Midget in town,” coach McPhail said. “She was a really good leader who played hard every shift and led by example. Wherever I needed her — centre, wing, defence — I told Ally to go out. She made the players around her better, and she never left anything on the ice,” he added.
By Pat Payton