The Hay River Minor Hockey Association capped off an eventful season with its annual awards banquet on April 16.
A large contingent of players, coaches, volunteers and parents packed the upstairs of the Royal Canadian Legion for a banquet and an opportunity to acclaim individual players for their outstanding performances.
Atom, peewee, bantam and midget-aged players were vying for four separate awards: most dedicated, most improved, most sportsmanlike and the Keith Broadhead Award, given to the players who best demonstrate the spirit of hockey.
Broadhead Award Winners were Trey Beck (atom), Bryn Hill (peewee), Jordan Schumann (bantam) and Jeffrey Groenheyde (midget).
The award is presented to one individual per division to recognize the overall best team player.
This year’s winner of the Matthew Taylor Memorial Award is Joel Demarcke, a midget player who was very surprised to hear he’d won.
The award recognizes a midget player who has the most determination, heart and hustle.
“That was the award that I wanted to win,” Demarcke said. “I’m usually a guy who works my hardest and skates the fastest every practice and game. This year, I focused on puck handling and controlling the game, because I wanted more confidence with the puck so I can go down south to play better hockey.”
Demarcke played at the bantam AAA level in Grande Prairie, Alta., a few years ago, but wanted to come back and play in Hay River last year to gain some confidence. He said he would like to go back south to play next winter.
Association president Vince McKay said it was yet another good year for the organization.
“I think it was very successful,” he said. “Minor hockey did enough fundraising through bottle drives to purchase a jacket for every kid, coach and director. It’s been amazing to see our group look like one big team.”
McKay mentioned that one exciting moment in the season was when volunteer Jeff Ashby won $20,000 for the association in Kraft’s Hockey Goes On nationwide contest.
“I think overall it was a great year and thank you to members of the executive, volunteers and players,” added McKay.
Esso Medal – most dedicated: Declan Munro
Esso Medal – most improved: Chandelle Leonard
Esso Medal – most sportsmanlike: Tyson Maher
Keith Broadhead Award: Trey Beck
Esso Medal – most dedicated: Zack Horton
Esso Medal – most improved: Trevor Sabourin
Esso Medal – most sportsmanlike: Cassidy Ring
Keith Broadhead Award: Bryn Hill
Esso Medal – most dedicated: Nick Buth
Esso Medal – most improved: Willie Frise
Esso Medal – most sportsmanlike: Tristan Cross
Keith Broadhead Award: Jordan Schumann
Esso Medal – most dedicated: Bryce Maher
Esso Medal – most improved: Evan Smith
Esso Medal – most sportsmanlike: Patrick Smith
Keith Broadhead Award: Jeffrey Groenheyde
Matthew Taylor Award: Joel Demarcke
— Myles Dolphin