The Norman Northstars celebrated the highs and lows of their 2018–19 season during this year’s awards banquet, which took place at River View Restaurant May 25.
Even though they ended the year near the bottom of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League, coach Murray Nychyporuk pointed out on Saturday that they still managed to finish strong with a pair of wins over the Interlake Lightening that pushed them out of last place.
“I’d like to thank you all for that, because that last weekend was something wonderful,” he said. “There were only two teams in the league that finished on winning notes: Brandon Wheat Kings, the champions of the league, and us.”
The individual awards portion of night was similarly bittersweet, since some of the team’s most decorated athletes won’t be returning next season.
Henry Muchikekwanape will be sorely missed, since he was recognized as the team’s top scorer, top defensive forward and received the most McDonald’s Offensive Player of the Game awards through the season alongside captain Hunter Rambow.
In addition to accepting the award for hardest worker, Rambow also took some time to thank the parents and coaching staff for making his last season of hockey with the Northstars a memorable one.
“The memories this program created are ones you never forget and they will stick with me forever,” he said. “And next year when I go and try to find my own path I will be reminded of all the love and support you guys provided.”
Other award recipients on Saturday night included Jordan Pfoh, who walked away from the ceremony with three awards for being the most dedicated player, the best defenceman and winning the most MacIntyre Defensive Player of the Game awards this season.
Goaltender Braedin Melsted was named most valuable player, while forward Kadin Ross won the inaugural Ridgestone Financial Most Sportsmanlike Player Award.
Northstars president Brad Salamandyk told the players that they should work hard no matter where they decide to compete in the future. He said this is especially relevant in a year when Northstars alumni like Sheldin Howard, Justin Nachbaur and Brady Keeper have found success playing in the MJHL,WHL and NHL, respectively.
“Whether it’s your first year as a Northstar or your last, don’t stop striving to achieve,” said Salamandyk. “Keep it with you your entire careers and all of your endeavours. Work hard, challenge yourself and commit, no excuses.”
Salamandyk also confirmed that Nychyporuk and Glenn Laycock will continue to serve as co-coaches next season.
Tryouts for the 2019–20 Northstars team are tentatively scheduled to take place on the weekend of Aug. 23–25.
Norman Northstars Award Winners 2018-19
Barry Patterson Most Popular Player: Ryan Monias
MacIntyre Defensive Player of the Game: Jordan Pfoh
McDonald’s Offensive Player of the Game: Hunter Rambow and Henry Muchikekwanape
Most Improved Player: Brandin Hill
Terry Murray Most Dedicated Award: Jordan Pfoh
Paul Lafreniere Best Defencemen: Jordan Pfoh
Cliff Duchesne Hardest Worker: Hunter Rambow
Top Scorer: Henry Muchikekwanape
Top Defensive Forward: Henry Muchikekwanape
Rookie of the Year: Rylan Potkonjak
Most Valuable Player: Braedin Melsted
Most Sportsman Like Player: Kadin Ross