WESTLOCK – While team honours like rookie of the year and MVP were handed out at the second-annual Senior Warriors Award Night held April 15 at the Legion, it was the No. 1 fan and volunteer of the year awards that truly made the night special for the club and its backers.
Warriors captain/coach Mike Ivey, who was named the club’s MVP, said the night was all about turning the spotlight back on the people who made the season possible. The Warriors will celebrate their 10th year of operation in the fall and wrapped the past regular season in fourth place of the North Central Hockey League with an 8-5-0-1 mark but fell in three-straight to the fifth-place Red Deer Rustlers in the opening round of the playoffs in February.
“Sure, it’s nice to recognize the players who’ve given so much to the team and the community, but it’s really a chance for us to recognize our fans, sponsors and volunteers,” said Ivey. “We’re community based, so we want to recognize the people who are not only contributing to us, but to sports in Westlock, as well as the players on our team for what they not only did in game, but outside the rink as well.
“The community has been really good to us, so we want to return the favour.”
Ivey drew special attention to Austin Teske, who received the $1,000 Warriors Scholarship for his post-secondary studies, and recently capped his minor hockey career and will head to MacEwan University in the fall. And although not listed as part of the awards, the club also gave Emma Kaliel a gift for being the team’s photographer.
“Austin is a really good kid and has been a leader on all of his teams and we were really impressed by his application,” said Ivey. “But it’s hard not to talk about other ones, like our volunteer of the year who was Ian O'Brien. He always did our O Canada and our music and has done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s been a big part of our club for a while now.”
With the awards night now in the book, the players now move on to their “other sports lives” whether playing baseball for the Red Lions, ball hockey, or golf, or even coaching.
“We’re looking forward to September, but we’re also looking forward to the summer break for sure,” Ivey added.
Volunteer of the Year - Ian O'Brien
Junior Warrior Award - Cohen Wallace
No. 1 Fan - Zach Mosher
Warriors Scholarship - Austin Teske
Community Involvement - Rod Kaliel
Top Scorer - Garry Mindus
Rookie of the Year - Garry Mindus
Defensive Player of the Year - Karmen Ward
MVP - Mike Ivey
Unsung Hero - Taylor Heck
Hardest Working - Taylor Heck
Defenseman of the Year - Clayton Eisler