Goaltender Justin Paulic went home with an armful of trophies after the Norman Northstars awards banquet May 12, during which the team also said goodbye to the coach of the past two years and welcomed another back behind the bench.
Paulic was the winner of the Moste Valuable Player Award, the Barry Paterson Most Popular Player Award and the People's Jewellers ring for dedication to the Northstars program on and off the ice, and shared the McIntyre Defensive Player of the Game Award trophy with Bruce Highway, who was also the winner of the Paul Lafreniere Best Defenceman Award.
Other multiple award winners included Tanner Hepp, who won the Cliff Duchesne Hardest Worker Award and shared the McDonald's Offensive Player of the Game Award with Eddie Bayer, who also won the Top Scorer Award.
Other award winners included Zach Garrett, who took the Terry Murray Most Dedicated Player Award, Most Improved Player Award winner Rick Frechette and Rookie of the Year Jameson Scott.
Dustin Levesque, who is stepping down after two years as head coach, thanked the board for giving him the opportunity to lead the team.
"It was nice to be part of a bigger organization where you get to try and spread your vision of how you think things should go and try to bring some positive change to the community and the group and hopefully we did that," he said. "I gave my best effort."
Cory Reid, delivering the thank you from the players, reflected on how giving back to the community gave him a lifelong memory.
"For myself, I'll never forget walking around in red high heels," he said, reminiscing on the team's participation in the YWCA's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser.
President John McNevin congratulated the team for their achievements on the ice this past season.
"The one thing we haven't done in a long time is host that first round and win," he said, before welcoming back Stu Cunningham, who previously served as an assistant coach with the Northstars for seven years, as the head coach for the 2012-13 season. He warned returning players that Cunningham isn't afraid to tell it like it is, something McNevin himself experienced as a linesman in the past. "He will tell you if you're having a good game or a bad game."
Levesque also congratulated his successor.
"There's not many people that actually realize the magnitude of time required to do this job," he said. "I want to commend you for dedicating your time to these players."
Guest speaker Dave Caldwell, who played one season in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League for the Interlake Lightning before moving on to play four years in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and then joining the Brandon University Bobcats, urged players not to neglect other facets of life in pursuit of their hockey dreams.
"Have a Plan B if you can," he said. "Forget the dressing room mentality, the peer pressure from the guys around you. Possess the self-discipline to get to class and finish assignments. It will make your life much easier later on."
The Northstars also donated unclaimed 50/50 prizes to three local organizations – the Juniper Centre, the Thompson Junior Curling Club and the Rotary Park Splash Pad committee – which each received $359.50.