KIJHL announce its divisional award winners
Kimberley Dynamiters forward Brock Palmer was named most valuable player in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s (KIJHL) Eddie Mountain division in back-to-back years.
Awards are voted on by all the teams in the KIJHL. Palmer’s selection was the lone consecutive award win in that division. In his third KIJHL season, he was the league’s lone 50-goal scorer and added 48 assists to his total. His 98 points also earned him the division’s Top Scorer award.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Alex Johnson – Golden Rockets. Johnson spent four minutes in the penalty box over 44 games.
Top Defenceman: Tristan Lambert – Columbia Valley Rockies. Lambert was 62nd in league scoring with 11 goals and 37 points in 45 games. He also won Rookie of the Year.
Top Goaltender: Ethan Fitzgerald – Fernie Ghostriders. In 27 games, Fitzgerald won 17 games and earned two shutouts to go with a 2.68 goals against average with a .921 save percentage.
Coach of the Year: Derek Stuart – Kimberley Dynamiters. Stuart guided the Dynamiters to first overall in the KIJHL with 40 wins in 49 games. The Dynamiters closed out the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
Stuart said this is a coaching staff award.
“I am very fortunate to have assistant coaches that do a lot of coaching and have a direct impact on our team and individual success,” he says. “They make my job a lot easier than it could be.”
The Dynamiters not only won their divisional banner, but also finished first overall for the President’s Cup.
Neil Murdoch Division
Most Sportsmanlike Award: Matthew Klenk – Spokane Braves. Klenk had eight penalty minutes in 47 games. The rookie also chipped in 15 goals and 28 points.
Most Valuable Player: Bradley Ross – Beaver Valley Nitehawks. In 49 games, he scored 37 goals and had 77 points, placing him second overall behind Palmer. Those totals also earned the top scorer award in the division. The Trail native averaged 1.6 points per game. He had five game-winning goals, three shorthanded goals and put up 27 points on the power play, including 13 goals.
Ross says it’s “pretty cool” to win the Neil Murdoch MVP adding he’s glad he was able to help push his team into first in the division.
“It’s been a great season so far. I’ve had good linemates to set me up all year and the coach’s confidence in me helped me a ton. We’re not done yet though, and I’m looking forward to a long playoff run.”
Top defenceman: Kaleb Comishin – Nelson Leafs. The Nelson product scored eight goals and had 34 points in 37 games. He also had 17 points on the power play.
Rookie of the Year: Elvis Slack – Grand Forks Border Bruins. The Jasper, Alta. product had 28 goals and 50 points in 42 games. He was fourth in division scoring. Among his point totals were three shorthanded and game-winning tallies.
Top Goalie: Hunter Young – Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Young posted a record of 12-6-2 in 21 games. He had one shutout with a 2.15 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
Coach of the Year: Terry Jones – Beaver Valley Nitehawks. Jones guided the Nitehawks to first place in the division and fifth overall in the league with 30 wins, 11 losses and three ties with five overtime losses.
“I am very appreciative of this award as it symbolizes the collective efforts of our entire team,” says Jones. “I love being part of building a competitive team that works hard and works together, and we are proud of our amazing efforts to get us to this point, and we look forward to the challenges of the future.”
Bill Ohlhausen Division
Most Sportsmanlike: Tyler Cheetham – North Okanagan Knights. Cheetham collected eight penalty minutes in 45 games in his rookie season.
Most Valuable Player: Kayson Gallant – Kelowna Chiefs. He led the Chiefs in scoring with 33 goals and 63 points in 48 games. Those totals also earned him the Top Scorer award.
Top Defenceman: Noah Brusse – Princeton Posse. The veteran from Whistler had a career season with 12 goals and 39 points in 47 games.
Rookie of the Year: Porter Dawson – Kelowna Chiefs. Dawson put up 23 goals and 63 points in 47 games, which led all KIJHL rookies in scoring.
Top Goalie: Braeden Mitchell – Kelowna Chiefs. He won 19 games, collecting two shutouts to go with a 2.35 goals against average with a .925 save percentage.
Coach of the Year: Ken Law – Kelowna Chiefs. Law has won his fifth straight divisional award. He led the Chiefs to a divisional championship with 32 wins, 12 losses, three ties with two overtime losses for 69 points in 49 games.
“I’m shocked. I had no idea and figured there were lots of quality coaches like Mark McNaughton (Princeton), Dean McAmmond (North Okanagan) and Ken Karpuk (Summerland) in our division,” says Law. “I really appreciate being recognized for this award and feel that it’s all possible by surrounding yourself with great support people, my assistants Thierry Martine, Carl Poole along with trainer Gord Lorenz and our equipment manager Andrew Knopf. They deserve much praise for all they do on a day-to-day basis.”
“With the unfortunate passing of Grant Sheridan, prior to the start of the season, there was lots of uncertainty on the direction the owners would be going,” he says. “We were lucky to have Grant’s partner and close friend Jason Tansem working extremely hard, in such trying times, to get a new season organized and moving in the right direction. We knew with all the support from so many outstanding people we would be okay and started to assemble a team for what we all decided would be dedicated to Grant.”
Doug Birks Division
Most Sportsmanlike: Matthew Poole – Chase Heat. In 45 games, the Edmonton native collected six penalty minutes.
Most Valuable Player: Jaxon Danilec – Sicamous Eagles. The Prince George native led the Eagles with 29 goals and 57 points in 43 games. Those numbers also helped him win Rookie of the Year honours.
Top Defenceman: Cam Watson – Chase Heat. The 20-year-old from Salmon Arm had nine goals and 34 points in 43 games.
Top Goaltender: Noah Desouza – Revelstoke Grizzlies. The 19-year-old from Erie, Colo., put up 21 wins along with a league-leading seven shutouts. Desouza posted a 1.69 goals against average with a .933 save percentage.
Top Scorer: Breckin Erichuk – Chase Heat. Erichuk of Kamloops picked up this award with a career high 21 goals and 61 points in 46 games.
Coach of the Year: Lukas Lomicky – Revelstoke Grizzlies – In his first year as coach, Lomicky guided the Grizzlies to a division championship with 39 wins in 49 games for 82 games. The Grizzlies went 9-1-0 in their final 10 games of the season.
“I appreciate receiving this award, especially in a difficult division with some great teams and coaches,” says Lomicky, who keeps the award in Revelstoke a third straight year, following two consecutive wins by general manager Ryan Parent. “I feel this is more of a team award than an individual award. Without the group we have, going out and giving it their all every night I would not have the pleasure of receiving this award. I am lucky as well to have a great support staff in my fellow coaches (Jiri Novak, Matt Miller and Darren Komonoski), their hard work gives the players the necessary tools to go out and be one of the top teams in this league.”
Stay tuned for the KIJHL’s league-wide award winners.