Minor hockey players, coaches and families celebrated the end of a successful season April 9, with awards, speeches and a lot of food.
“It’s been a great year,” said minor hockey president Pennie Pokiak. “We had about 155 kids but, of course, the more the merrier.”
Pokiak said she hopes for a similar season next time around and thanked all the volunteers for their efforts, saying that without parents, coaches, and directors, they wouldn’t have a hockey season at all.
Most coaches were on hand to present awards to the players, but Quinn Groenheyde – coach of the midgets – received one of his own.
Coach Curtis Rowe, who graduated from the local minor hockey scene to the Northern Hockey Challenge, was there to present Groenheyde with the organization’s Long Service Award for many years of coaching. Rowe said he learned a lot from Groenheyde over the years and admired him as an influence in young people’s lives.
“At the end of the day, if they’re a better person, then we’ve done our job,” he said.
Each division was represented with trophies handed out to all and individual awards bestowed.
“I want to say a huge congratulations to the players,” said atom coach Kim Ivanko. “I would take these kids to the moon and back if I could.”
Pee wee coach Mark Horton said he was indebted to goalies from other divisions for the season as they filled in, and also credited the many volunteers with the success of the season.
The Keith Broadhead Award, given to the overall most valuable player in each of the top four divisions, was presented to Kaden Beck in atom, Zack Horton in pee wee, Dawson McMeekin in bantam, and Joel Demarcke in midget. Keith Dohey, Broadhead’s grandson, was on hand to dole them out and said he was proud of all the players who stepped up to be leaders of their respective teams.
Dohey also helped present the Matt Taylor Award, given to the player with the most determination and heart, independent of skill, who plays for the love of the game. The award is presented in memory of Matt Taylor who died in a car accident in 2010. Matt’s brother, Mike Taylor, presented the award to Jeff Groenheyde.
Connecting players, young and old
As an added attraction to the April 9 events, members of the Hay River Huskies Northern Hockey Challenge team turned out to present and sign trading cards made up for the team.
About half the team gathered at tables after the awards presentations to sign cards while their younger counterparts lined up and dashed around the room looking for more signatures.
“I’m going to try to get all of them, even the ones who aren’t here,” said