Honouring the players for a year of hard work and dedication was the order of the night on April 27 during the Olds Grizzlys annual awards banquet.
A total of 11 player awards were handed out with Cale Brown winning the scholastic award, Bart Moran and JC Heck sharing the community player of the year award, Dylan Hubbs earning the most dedicated player award, Brandon Clowes earning the president's award and Blair Oneschuk earning the rookie of the year. Spencer Dorowicz was named the top defensive player on the team for 2012-13, while Landon Kletke and Reid Wilson shared the most improved player honour.
Ethan Jemieff was named the team's most valuable player during the playoffs for his work in net while Matt Marcinew earned top scorer honours. Chris Stachiw was named the team's top defenceman and Brandon Clowes was named the team's regular season MVP.
Mike Smith, the three-time Olympic decathlete who was ranked in the top 10 in his sport for 10 years, spoke at the banquet and told the players about the importance of writing goals down and putting effort towards being successful. He said he learned a lot from sport, that carries him through his life today.
"Writing down goals and aligning with people that believe in you (is important),î he said. "You have to be willing to sacrifice. I learned to be humble. You're never going to win all 10 of those events.î
Smith's first Olympics was in 1988, when the entire Canadian team became overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Ben Johnson. He said he learned how to focus from more experienced teammates.
Smith said the most important thing he took away from sport was to learn about himself and to always chase excellence.
Brett Hopfe, the team's head coach, told the audience that at the end of the year, the players unanimously voted, and the coaches concurred, that next year's captain would be Dorowicz. The hometown forward will be entering his fourth and final year with the Grizzlys in September.
"It's a great feeling to be voted by the players that I played with all season and I'm excited to go into next year and them having full confidence in me and I hope I can lead the way,î he said. "I couldn't be happier to be playing in my hometown Ö and I'm looking forward to having one more season here.î
Hopfe also paid tribute to Moran, Hubbs, Stachiw, Clowes and Heck, 20-year-old players who will be moving on to other endeavours after having finished their junior careers at the end of the 2012-13 season. Hopfe said Moran showed leadership from the time he first came to the Grizzlys in 2010-11.
"I can't remember one day that he took off. He always had a consistent work ethic every time he was on the ice,î he said.
"Hubbs was another leader that we looked upon to create a lot of energy and near the end of his career we looked upon him to put some points on the board. I think he did a great job,î Hopfe said.
Stachiw earned the confidence of the coaching staff with his steady defensive play behind the blueline, anchoring the defence this past seasoin.
"He played a whole lot of minutes for us over the course of this year. He's someone we're really going to miss, I think,î Hopfe said.
Clowes demonstrated his leadership through his play on the ice.
"He never wore the (alternate captain), but always led on the ice with his play and obviously was named MVP this year in the regular season. He put up a lot of points for us over the years,î Hopfe said.
Heck was a rugged forward who was always willing to work hard and mix it up.
"He was a beast out there and (was) someone that gave other guys on our roster confidence, just because he was in the lineup. I think he added a lot of things to a lot of guys' game. Those guys are definitely going to be missed, I think,î Hopfe said.