The Ice Wolves year ended with their 13th Annual Banquet Saturday night and just like the rest of the season, it was a great success.
The MC was passable, but we won't get on him too much. The night really shone when he passed the mic off to the speakers of the evening. Nolan Souchotte got a standing ovation as he used crutches to make his way to the podium to give the Players Address. He thanked everyone for their support for the team, and got another standing ovation when he said to Ice Wolves Assistant Coach Gavin Holcomb, "it wouldn't hurt for you to smile more."
Ice Wolves Head Coach Bob Beatty gave an emotional speech talking about the team assembled this year. He apologized to those in attendance for the Ice Wolves being unable to bring home a National Championship, but expressed his pride for the season the team had.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in La Ronge that would even for an instant hold it against the Ice Wolves for not playing in the RBC Cup right now. Like Coach Beatty said, the character of the Ice Wolves and the quality guys in that dressing room is fantastic. They gave everything and a little more to the team and the community. Nobody should hang their head about this amazing season.
The final speech of the night came from Ice Wolves President Terry Helary, where he announced that Bob Beatty will be back for next season to try and guide the Ice Wolves to a third consecutive SJHL Championship. As Nolan Souchotte put it, if you've won SJHL Coach of the Year four times, you must be doing something right. It's great for the Ice Wolves to keep him on for another year which I imagine many are already looking forward to.
Now, here are the player awards.
Most Sportsman Like Award - Taylor Piller, Byron Sorenson
Fans Choice Award - Travis Eggum
Most Improved Award - Travis Eggum
Most Dedicated Award - Nolan Souchotte, Phil Belanger
Diamond in the Rough Award - Skyler Hladun
Rookie of the Year Award - Nathan Boyer
Mr. Hustle Award - Graham Smerek
Top Defenceman Award - Dayton Fossum, Byron Sorenson
Community Minded Award - Myles Hovdebo
Top Scorer Award - Travis Eggum, Marc-Andre Carre
Most Valuable Player Award - Travis Eggum, Marc-Andre Carre
Best Playmaker Award - Marc-Andre Carre, Logan Herauf
George Walker Memorial Award for Heart and Desire -
Most Valuable Player (Playoffs) - Aaron Enns, Logan Herauf
Also, the league award winners got their SJHL Awards Jerseys. Players get a jersey with their name and each award on the back, so Eggum has the beginnings of a small team.
SJHL 1st Team All-Stars - Travis Eggum, Marc-Andre Carre
SJHL 2nd Team All-Stars - Doug Lindensmith
Top Scorer - Travis Eggum
Most Valuable Player - Marc-Andre Carre
Player of the Year - Travis Eggum
To round things out, Travis Eggum is also one of eight nominees for the CJHL Player of the Year Award.
The Annual Jersey Auction was unbelievable. Records for highest selling jersey were broken a couple times and it was the highest earning Ice Wolves auction ever. The auctioneer Myron Schmalz was pretty impressed saying it was the best Jersey Auction he'd ever done. I picked up Nick Keller's jersey which he was nice enough to sign for me. A nice memento of my first season with the Ice Wolves.
It was a great night for the Ice Wolves and the fans in attendance. Yesterday most of the players headed back home. For the returning players, they get a bit of a break and then begin their off season training. For guys like Marc-Andre Carre, this is a very important off season with NHL teams watching him closely. It could be a pretty eventful summer for M-A-C. Keep an eye out in the later rounds of the NHL draft. With the amount of scouts at the Mel during the Anavet Cup to see Carre and Kasdorf, both guys could have good draft days. For those not under the scrutiny of NHL teams this summer is still important as it's their turn to take over as the big time players on the Ice Wolves. See you guys in a few months.
For the players that won't be back, 20-year olds and anybody else that doesn't return to La Ronge, it was a great season guys. Thanks for putting up with the interviews before games and for all the great memories from my first full season in hockey media world.
It should be an interesting off season as the Ice Wolves look to build a team that can compete with what is sure to be a powerhouse team in Humboldt for the Bauer Conference crown next season. I'll do my best to keep you up to date on the goings-on in La Ronge through the summer. Vacation time including a U2 concert are on the schedule for my off season so we'll see where that goes.
Thanks for the great 2010-2011 season Ice Wolves, fans, parents, readers and spam bots. You're all awesome (except for the spam bots) and it's been a fantastic year and I already can't wait for 2011-2012.