OLDS — The Olds Minor Hockey Association paid tribute to dozens of players, coaches and volunteers during their annual awards night, held April 12 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #105.
U7 Player of the Year: Manon Michaud
This award goes to a U7 player who has improved the most from the start to the end of the season, who worked hard every single shift and every single practice and game.
“This player entered their first year of hockey this season as a four-year-old and was hands-down the smallest player on the team,” MC Tyler Rosehill said.
“Size never seemed to faze her, entering into every practice and game with a positive attitude and the most contagious smile that had undoubtedly impacted each and every player on the team.
“This player has improved immensely this season, going from a player who slowly walked around the ice to a player who wins races to the puck and recently notched their first goal of the season.
“The coaching staff of our Team Blue couldn’t be more proud of this player’s effort to improve and a smile that we got to see every single day.
“The award goes to -- she is actually coming up here, you just can’t see her,” Rosehill said, sparking some laughter. “She’s kind of slow walking but you should see her skate.”
U9 Player Of the Year: Nolan Nakamura
This award is given to the U9 player who contributes the most to his or her team by his ability as well as sportsmanship in an honest and sincere way.
“This player is always among the first players to arrive in the dressing room and has missed fewer games and practices than any other player on the team,” Rosehill said.
“In the room, he leads conversations, ensuring that there’s never a dull moment or a quiet moment leading up to the hitting on the ice.
“On the ice, he works hard on his shot at every opportunity and does drills at full speed. He works hard in practice, checks hard and aggressively, has a terrific shot, is a positive and kind dressing room personality.
“He goes out of his way to include others in the play and helps them score goals and is also a tremendous goalie.
“I coached against this young guy, and you wanted him on your team. You could tell he has a major passion for the game,” he added.
Rosehill said Nakamura was also his team’s best goalie.
“You could count on him to strap on the pads whenever needed,” he said.
Mr. Zec Most Coachable Player: Callie Kreese
This award goes to an atom-aged player who is very good at listening to the coach’s instructions and applying them in game and practice situations.
“It is evident that the player is committed to every aspect of the game of hockey and is eager to learn all that the sport and the coaches have to teach,” Rosehill said.
He said this award does not necessarily go to the top scorer or most valuable player (MVP).
It goes to a player who displays respectful behaviour for the coach and teammates, both on and off the ice.
That person also attends most, if not all practices and games, is always ready on time, requires minimal supervision in the dressing room and is a good role model for teammates.
In addition, the winner of this award does not interrupt or argue with or complain to others during practices and games; does not get rattled by the game and keeps his or her emotions in check.
This player does not interrupt coaches but is not afraid to ask for clarification when required and has never required discipline.
Rosehill said Kreese was the only player on her team who met that criteria, making her “an excellent role model.”
“(She was) always at games and practices, constantly taking skills learned in practices, applying them to other drills and games and just a great personality. Always smiling – and I mean always smiling,” he said.
Tammy Moritz 110% Memorial Award: Hayes Olanski
This award goes to a peewee player who demonstrates the most energy and enthusiasm in game situations.
They don’t necessarily have to be the most skilled player, but must always give their personal best every shift.
“This player might be the smallest but he plays like he’s the tallest and the strongest,” Rosehill said.
“He has endless energy and is a top penalty killer. He knows how to block shots, win faceoffs. He contributes to team points and is basically a pain in the butt for the other teams to play against.
“Tammy always commented and enjoyed watching those players who gave 110 per cent in their games,” he added.
The Les Wendelboe Memorial Scholarship: Koaltyn Ogalvie
This award goes to a goaltender in the peewee age bracket. It includes a trophy and registration fee of up to $500 for a goalie school.
The award winner must live in Olds and attend a local school or be homeschooled in town.
They must display dedication to his or her team, be a peewee category goaltender and must have passing grades (50 per cent) or higher in all school subjects.
They should be a good ambassador for his or her team as well as for the town of Olds and Olds Minor Hockey Association and his or her sport.
“Koaltyn’s been a great representative of his team. He’s good natured and presents himself well at team occasions,” Rosehill said.
“Over the course of the year, Koaltyn has improved his consistency and focus and has become one of the top goaltenders in the league.
“He has also dressed up for games in his own unique way, which usually has him expressing while meeting the dress code. He’s often seen in wranglers and cowboy hat. But on occasion, he breaks out his pink suit and sunglasses.
“I think Koaltyn has found a good balance between having fun and ensuring focus during the game.
“I’ve been impressed by his dedication and love for the game. He’s a first-year goalie and has improved a great deal and has the makings of a great player who will be critical to the success of Olds Minor Hockey Association teams in the future,” he added.
Jack Cruikshank Award: Keagan Haldane and Summer Grover
This award is presented to the most improved goaltender in Olds Minor Hockey. It is usually awarded to someone in the peewee level and higher, but other players may be considered.
“Neither one of these players began the season with the intent of being a goalie. Each of these recipients inspired their team by strapping on the pads and standing between the pipes," Rosehill said.
“Both are described as always having a smile on their face, no matter what the circumstance.
“For one never having played goal and one only playing a couple of times, these athletes have shown incredible improvement.
“One player (led) her team to the league final series in the Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League by standing on her head (applause) never giving up and closing the door on a penalty shot.
“The other led his team to some huge Rocky Mountain Female League playoff wins and a provincial tournament appearance,” Rosehill added.
The Pomeroy Community & Leadership Award: Kyle Dodd
The recipient of this award should be a player who displays not only noteworthy talent in the game of hockey but also the ability to lead his or her teammates by example off the ice as well as on the ice.
In addition to being a skilled hockey player, the nominee should have the following criteria: above average results in school according to the most recent report card.
They should also be involved in his or her community in a way that is a positive influence.
They could be a volunteer in an organization such as a helpful neighbour, be involved in a fundraising activity for a charity or has given his or her time and energy to someone else, expecting nothing in return.
That person is always helpful, positive and motivating to his or her teammates and is focused on getting results as a team, not as an individual.
“This year’s nominee is an amazing kid. Not only (is he one) of the top players in our SCAL league with 23 goals, 25 assists for 48 points in 23 games, (he’s) also the best teammate that we’ve ever seen for a 14-year-old player,” Rosehill said.
He noted that Dodd also serves as junior coach in minor hockey.
“As a junior coach, he is sharing the hockey knowledge and passion with the next generation of hockey stars,” he said.
“He’s also setting a high standard for (himself) in the classroom, holding an excellent 90 per cent average in all of his classes.”
Olds Minor Hockey Association U18 Player of the Year: Parker Reese
This award goes to the U18 player who contributes the most to his team by his ability as well as sportsmanship (provided) in an honest and sincere way.
Ryan McBeath Memorial Award: Aidan Saunders
This award goes to a midget AA player who humbly displays a strong work ethic and dedication, natural leadership, motivating his teammates on and off the ice.
“The recipient has self-motivating determination that is coachable and is a good student,” Rosehill said.
Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL) AWARDS
Top Scorer U11 Tier 1: Finn Visser
“Finn was the leading scorer in Tier 1 U11 this year with an incredible 107 goals and 24 assists for a total of 131 points in 31 CAHL games," Rosehill said.
South Central Alberta Hockey League Top forward and the leading scorer: Crew Martinson
Rosehill said Martinson broke the South Central Alberta Hockey League’s regular season scoring record this season, scoring 59 goals and picking up 46 assists for 118 points in only 30 games played.
“He held a 30-point lead over the second-place scorer and finished the season on a just about four-points-per-game pace,” Rosehill said.
“He led the Olds Grizzlys U13 AA (team) on a 17-game winning streak to end the season and had an extremely impressive 59 points in his last 11 regular season games.
“Why didn’t you pick it up in the first part of the season," he asked sparking laughter.
“He broke the scoring record that was Austin Corsiatto’s, his coach this year, by one point, so that is pretty awesome, you guys. Nice work,” he added.
South Central Alberta Hockey U13 Defenceman of the Year: Brock Dingman
Rosehill described Dingman as “a man playing against boys all season long.”
He led the entire U13 AA league among defencemen, scoring 26 goals and obtaining 23 assists for 49 points in 34 games.
He led all defencemen in powerplay goals this season with 12 and was fourth in the entire league, including all forwards.
“He has a shot that was clocked at 76 miles per hour and he’s only 12 years old. Just in comparison, only two athletes in our U18 AA team were clocked shooting harder than that 12-year-old,” Rosehill said.
“This player also has a great two-way game. He was matched up by all the other teams’ best players and he managed to finish the season with a +64 plus-minus (stat). Very good job, Brock.”
South Central Alberta Hockey League’s U15 AA leading scorer: Tevin Klassen
Rosehill described Klassen as “a hard-working player who has a remarkable shot and a vision on the ice.”
“His size and strength make him a very hard player to play against. His ability to shoot the puck makes him a threat in the offensive zone.
Klassen scored 46 goals and added 57 assists for 103 points in only 51 games played this season.
He finished the season with a plus-minus rating of +98.
South Central Alberta Hockey League’s U15 AA Most Valuable Forward: Kyle Dodd
“Kyle is a hard-working, dedicated hockey player,” Rosehill said. “His determination to be the best player he can every day is truly remarkable. Kyle is a born leader and his work ethic is infectious.
“With his speed and deadly shot, Kyle was always a threat to score every shift. In 42 games played this season, Kyle scored 44 goals and added 35 assists for 79 points.”
Dodd finished the season with a +79 plus-minus rating.
Tribute to banner-winning teams
On behalf of the OMHA, Rosehill paid tribute to five teams that won banners during the season, adding that they “represented OMHA in the most honourable way.”
Those teams are the U11 Tier 1 Green champions, the U18 A Tier 3 Green champions, U 11B Tier 2 Blue champions, U11C Black Tier 5 Red champions.
Also, the U15 AA Elite Female team not only won the Alberta Female Hockey League banner, they also finished the season as 2022 provincial champions.
Several U18 players who have now aged out were celebrated and congratulated.
“Thank you for all your years of commitment and dedication to Olds Minor Hockey and putting the puck in the net,” Rosehill said.
‘We look forward to seeing where the future takes you. We wish you all the best in whatever life and sport has in store for you.
“We may be biased, but we think hockey is the best community, with lifelong friendships and we hope you continue a future in the game as a player, coach, volunteer or mentor.
“Congratulations and best of luck in your next journey,” he added.
U18 female hockey team coach Ray Hoppins paid tribute to four players from that team who have aged out: Prairie McNeeley, Amber Neilson, Ashley Hoppins and Tralina Houston.
As they came up to the stage, they received their retired jerseys.
Prairie McNeeley, team captain
“You may already know that Prairie started her hockey in Bowden and that she joined the Olds Minor Hockey program in Atom,” Hoppins said.
“You may already know that Prairie is a fierce competitor. What you might not know about Prairie is she brought an element of fun and enjoyment to all the girls on all the teams that she played (for) throughout the years.
“And I know, I coached Prairie when she was tiny and I coached Prairie in her last game in the provincial tournament and she had a wonderful tournament,” he added.
“You may know that Amber also started in the Bowden minor hockey program. You may know that Amber joined Olds Minor Hockey in Bantam and had a very successful five-year run,” Hoppins said.
“What you might not know about Amber is every time a play was made at the highest level that ended in a goal, the coaching staff, over many years, looked at each other and said, ‘did Amber just pull that off?’
“Amber has hands of gold and it showed in every game she played. Amber, congratulations,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to coach Ashley Hoppins who is also my third child and coached her from Grade 1 for many years,” Hoppins said.
“You may know Ashley used to be this tiny little skater that used to scoot around and you may know that Ashley has grown and that she enjoyed many great years at both the Bantam and now the U18 level.
“What you may not know is Ashley has a heck of a short. We didn’t clock it, but it gave the other teams fits at times and they didn’t want to block it any time.
“So Ashley, thank you for your leadership, assistant captain.”
“You may know Tralina, that she started in our Bowden program, the fun hockey program. And you may know that Tralina joined Olds Minor Hockey for a season in Atom. She took a few years’ break," Hoppins said.
“And what you might know is that even though Tralina competed at the highest level, all the way to provincials, it was only her third year of organized hockey.
“What you might also not know is Tralina did not lose a single race against the highest Tier 1 players after Christmas in U18 female hockey.
“Tralina, you are an outstanding teammate. Thanks for taking care of us,”
U18A boys coach John Cavanaugh paid tribute to seven players graduating from that team: Logan Grover, Robert McBeath, Cole Hunter, Parker Reese, Liam Jackson, Carter Martinez and Austin Kirk.
"I don’t know these guys much more than around the rink. I don’t know their history when they were little. I kind of showed up halfway through around the peewee group and then started coaching these guys from there,” Cavanaugh said.
“Robert is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and works his ass off every shift. A solid kid who had no problem showing his opposition the quickest way to the ice,” Cavanaugh said. He didn’t hesitate to set his own team straight on occasion.”
“Liam was a solid defenceman. Great skating abilities,” Cavanaugh said. “And just when it looked like he was roasted, somehow he’d beat the guy back to make a great defensive play.
“He’s probably one of the most polite kids you’ll ever meet and known in the room for being a peacekeeper.”
“Carter was a character guy. He’d be the one cracking jokes and keeping the mood light in the room,” Cavanaugh said. “He also wasn’t afraid to get in a scrum; muck it up if his teammates needed help.
“He always seemed to have a wisecrack at the most inopportune moment when I was talking in the room.”
“Logan really took the team under his wing and really made sure that they stayed together as a group with his leadership skills. He knew what it took to keep everyone involved,” Cavanaugh said.
“He also had a blistering slapper that rarely hit the net. But when it did, the puck did go in,” he added to some laughter.
“This guy’s a beauty. Moved down from the Yukon before the season and was a great addition to our team," Cavanaugh said.
“If he wasn’t destroying kids and laying them out, he was ripping pucks in the net. You didn’t mess with Kirky boy. It’s probably doubtful that anyone had a harder shot in the league. The guy had a bullet.”
“When you hear the (phrase) cool as a cucumber, that was this kid. No highs, no lows, just showed up and gave us a chance to win, every game,” Cavanaugh said.
“You’d watch Cole in warm up and sometimes wonder what kind of a game he was going to have. But when game time came, the puck dropped, the switch flipped and he was lights out.”
U18AA head coach Cody Leeming paid tribute to players Kelvin Kearns, Ethan Parks, Tyson Ellis and Teagan Felker.
“I just want to start by saying thank you to Olds Minor Hockey for being so welcoming to me coming in as a first-year head coach and being kind of new to the community. So thanks to everyone who was involved in welcoming me, appreciate it,” Leeming said.
He praised the team’s captain on a “great minor hockey career.”
“Coming to Olds, knowing absolutely no one, you were someone who stood out to me right away as a future leader for this team and you exemplified those qualities of being a leader from Day 1,” he said.
“Scoring a goal while icing the puck on the PK (penalty kill) during a tournament in Edmonton to playing every other shift for 30-plus minutes per game on a three-day weekend is never easy.
“But thank you for everything you’ve done as a player for this team and organization. I wish you nothing but the best in your future.”
“When I decided to keep you on this team, not that I had a choice to because we had 12 players try out,” Leeming said to some laughter. “I was surprised to hear that you’d never played AA hockey before.
“One thing I’ll remember about you this season is when you flew down the wing, snapped the puck in the net and off the receiving faceoff, you scored the exact same goal 10 seconds later.
“You were a quiet, but passionate player for us. You led our team in goals for 90 per cent of the season and won the most dedicated award at our awards night.
“Thank you for everything you have done and I wish you the best, moving forward.”
“I’ll start off by saying you’re definitely a goalie,” Leeming said. He spurred some light laughter by adding that in his mind, Felker had "very questionable style in your suits, so I sure hope you’re able to find one for your graduation this year.”
“You had a rollercoaster of a season with being out for basically two months to taking the bull by the horns and putting on some amazing performances for us in our year-end playoff tournament,” he added.
“Thank you for everything that you have done and good luck with your future.”
Ethan Parks did not attend the evening but Leeming gave him a shout-out anyway.
MC Tyler Rosehill described Olds Minor Hockey Association coaches as “the unsung heroes of the association.”
“Coaches are rarely given the praises they deserve,” he said.
“While the rest of us are caught up the hustle of everyday life, they are creating practice plans, studying stats of the opposing teams, developing strategies for the upcoming games.
“They are sometimes wiping tears, fixing helmets and hair and cooling jets, deciding the lineups, changing them and then changing them again to maintain a level of happiness and acceptability for everyone, all while managing their own day-to-day jobs and families.”
Best player development coach: Jon Weigum
“This coach is passionate about teaching players all aspects of hockey, including skills, conditioning, nutrition, strategy, teamwork and team building,” Rosehill said.
“As well, this coach is a role model by being positive and supportive of hockey, both inside and outside the arena. Thank you John, very well done.”
The Olds Minor Hockey Association Coach of the Year: John Cavanaugh
Coaches under consideration for this award must exhibit the following attributes: fairness to all players, good knowledge of the game of hockey and showing respect to his team, parents and manager.
Rosehill noted it goes to a “deserving parent or volunteer who strives to make this organization grow and more importantly, has done it for the kids and the goodness of the sport.”
The Ken Johnston Memorial Volunteer of the Year award: Austin Corsiatto
This award goes to a volunteer who selflessly donates their time for the betterment of the association.
“Ken moved to Olds in the early 1990s. He never had any children of his own, but he was always involved in minor hockey and the (Olds) Grizzlys Junior A hockey club,” Rosehill said.
“Whenever there was a tournament being held, if you needed a timekeeper in the box, you could always count on Ken to be there.”
Rosehill paid tribute to all the volunteers who have made the Olds Minor Hockey Assocation such a successful organization.
“It's the volunteers, Nikki and all the different people, girls and guys that volunteer throughout all year that make us as strong as we are. I think we have 26 teams in the association,” he said.
He gave a shoutout to outgoing OMHA president Rich McDonald and incoming president Rob Turville.
“These two guys -- president of the board, it’s major, many hours to volunteer and they’re busy boys and busy with business and family and whatnot. So thank you guys all very much for what you do,” he said.
On behalf of the OMHA, Rosehill expressed appreciation to Brett Muzychka and his family for their dedication to Olds Minor Hockey for their decades of volunteer service to the organization.