The Preeceville Pats Midget hockey players were acknowledged with awards for their dedication and hard work through the 2019-20 season. The season was cut short and ended with players not being acknowledged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsors handed out awards over the course of several weeks which were presented on the grounds outside the Town of Preeceville administration building.
"To me it was just as important for the sponsors of the awards to get recognized for their contribution to our club on a yearly basis, as it is for our players to get acknowledged for their awards," said Kirby Pankratz, head coach for the Midgets.
"I’d like to express well deserved congratulations to all the winners, I’m very proud to have coached them and see not only their accomplishments, but the success that the whole team had this past season. They were simply the best group that I’ve ever had the privilege of being a part of, and I don’t think any of them had any doubts where we would’ve finished the year if it didn’t end so abruptly," Pankratz concluded.
The annual Midget awards were based on regular season play, and were voted on by all five members of the Midget coaching staff which consisted of Pankratz, Conrad Peterson, Colby Wolkowski, Sheldon and Skylar Wallin.
Toby Olynyk of Buchanan received the Trent Paul Memorial Top Rookie award.
Coaching staff selected Olynyk as he showed his versatility in his rookie campaign, splitting time as a forward and defensemen for the Pats. He topped all rookies with 12 goals. His speed, bullet shot and physical tenacity gives promise to years ahead for Pats fans.
Shae Peterson of Sturgis received the Karen Thiel Memorial Top Defence award.
Peterson was the leading all-time defensemen with 25 points, and was second on the team for plus-minus at a plus 63. He played for the most part on a five man, big minute-eating defence squad and only was assessed four penalty minutes, stated the coaching staff.
Todd Pankratz of Preeceville received the Marlin Romaniuk Memorial Top Scorer award.
Pankratz led all players with 24 goals and 60 points in the Pats 20-game regular season.
Pankratz also received the Jack Prien Top Forward award.
In every statistical category in the regular season, he led all players, finishing a plus 67 with 24 goals and 60 points in 20 games. His 36 assists alone topped all but one player’s points total on the team, stated staff.
Brett Smith (goaltender) of Sturgis was voted as Most Valuable Player with Lorne and Colleen Zubko sponsoring the award.
“Playing every game all season and being the only alternative in the ‘pipes’ means you have to be on top of your game every night for the Pats to have the success they did this year. Smitty’s easy going character always turned to “strictly business” at game time. Finishing the regular season with two shutouts, 15 wins, three ties, and only two losses, he kept us in games we didn’t always deserve to win, but still got us the win,” stated staff.
The Esso Medals of Achievement were also voted on by all five of the coaching staff.
Ryan Bear of Kamsack received the Most Dedicated award.
“Ryan had the most miles logged to the rink by far of anyone on the team. He was an extremely coachable player who bought in to the role he was given, and that dedication with his work ethic gave him a lot of success,” stated the coaching staff.
Shelby Wallin of Margo received the Most Sportsmanlike award.
“A true leader, and great veteran voice in the dressing room and on the bench he supported and pushed his teammates to be better and most importantly, to have fun, while taking a minimal 10 penalty minutes on a small defence squad playing big minutes,” stated the coaching staff.
Elijah Hort of Sturgis received the Most Improved award.
“Elijah transformed his game and rose to the potential we knew he was always capable of. He truly ‘bought in’ to what was asked of him on the ice and worked his tail off to finish his minor hockey career as probably his most productive season ever,” stated the coaching staff.