Neil Murdoch Award Winners

Each year, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League presents seven awards for on-ice excellence: Most Valuable Player, Top Scorer, Top Defenceman, Top Goaltender, Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and Coach of the Year. Winners are named from each of the league’s four divisions prior to the start of KIJHL Playoffs, with overall league award winners named prior to the Teck Cup Finals.

  • Monday, February 13 – Eddie Mountain Division
  • Tuesday, February 14 – Neil Murdoch Division
  • Wednesday, February 15 – Bill Ohlhausen Division
  • Thursday, February 16 – Doug Birks Division

Today, we honour the award winners for the Neil Murdoch Division.

Most Valuable Player
Nathan Dominici
Beaver Valley Nitehawks

The 18-year-old is in his second with his hometown Nitehawks and led them in points, averaging 1.05 points per game with 41 in 39 games. Of his 23 goals, four are winners and nine have come on the power-play. He played an average of 17:49 with 2:48 on the power-play. Dominici led his team with 23 goals, which was the second highest in the division. His five game-winning goals are second highest in the division.
Top Scorer
Spencer Horning
Grand Forks Border Bruins
The Kelowna product established a new career high in goals (17) and had a second straight season with 30 assists to lead the Border Bruins with 47 points, which is also a career high. He has four special teams goals, three on the power-play and one short-handed. He ranked 16th in the league in points, while averaging 19:15 of ice time per game.

Top Defenceman
Tyson Lautard
Nelson Leafs
 The third-year Leafs defenceman had 29 points in 40 games. Of his six goals, two came on the power-play and one was a winner. Lautard averaged 25:11 of ice time per game, and saw an average of 3:40 a game on the power-play and 3:08 on the penalty kill. He was a key part of the Leafs blueline allowing the ninth fewest goals against the league with 137 and tied them with Grand Forks for the best goal-differential at plus-13 in their division.

Top Goaltender
Connor Stojan
Beaver Valley Nitehawks

The Grande Prairie, Alberta product won 15 of the 25 games he played. Stojan finished with a 2.45 GAA and a .931 SP. He won the most games in the Neil Murdoch Division, while his save percentage was tied for the best in the league and his GAA cracked the top-10 in the league. Stojan started his Nitehawks tenure with five straight wins. During that stretch Stojan had a 2.54 GAA with a .929 SP. He finished the season winning his final two games with a 2.00 GAA and a .944 SP.
Rookie of the Year
Russell Kosec
Grand Forks Border Bruins
The Kelowna product has been one of the top producing defencemen in the league, averaging .64 points per game with 27 points in 44 games. He has five goals, four coming on the power-play and a game-winner. Kosec has been a key part of the Border Bruins blueline which has allowed the least amount of goals in their division, while playing an average of 24:30 a game with a plus-9. He led rookie defencemen in the division in points.
Most Sportsmanlike Player
Chad Bates
Grand Forks Border Bruins
The Regina, Saskatchewan product has been a key part of the Border Bruins offence and has spent just six minutes in the penalty box. The 6-2, 180-pound forward was fourth on the Border Bruins with 29 points in 42 games and was tied for second with 17 goals. Bates averaged 17:25 of ice time and was an important part of the special teams, playing an average of 2:18 on the power-play and 2:05 on the penalty-kill. Bates represented the Border Bruins on Team KIJHL at the BCHC Prospects Game.
Coach of the Year
Dave Hnatiuk
Grand Forks Border Bruins
In his second full season behind the Border Bruins bench, Hnatiuk has helped the organization take big strides improving from a five-win season last year to 25 this season. It’s their third winning season in franchise history. The Border Bruins finished eighth overall in the league. The Border Bruins allowed the seventh fewest goals in the league. Hnatiuk also coached Team KIJHL to victory in the BCHC Prospects Game.  

Peter Kalasz Photography