by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
– Submitted Photos
For over a decade, Sturgeon Hockey Club (SHC) has been recognizing its players and coaches for their outstanding skills, their passion for the game, and for their dedication to the sport of hockey.
On May 9, SHC held it’s annual awards ceremony in Morinville, where eleven awards were handed out on behalf of the SHC Executive Board.
“The whole goal of this [ceremony] is to celebrate the great successes of our players and coaches,” said Adam Scharmann, SHC Communications Coordinator and Awards Committee Chair. Scharmann noted most of the awards have a special meaning behind them because they are named after someone from the extended SHC family; six of them hold particular significance as memorial awards.
“It’s a way to recognize those currently involved with SHC while honouring some of those we’ve lost in the past,” he said.
Sharmann explained awards are given to players, not only for their on-ice performances but also because of elements such as positive attitudes or volunteerism. This year more than 50 nominations flooded in, penned by players, coaches, and family members. The awards committee was tasked with whittling it down to the successful eleven.
“There seems to be a lot of diversity from year-to-year on who is being nominated,” said Sharmann, remarking only one player this year has been a past winner before.
Sturgeon Hockey Club 2017 Award Winners
Senior Coach of the Year was awarded to John Schnieder, nominated by one of the players from his Peewee AA Sting team for his outstanding leadership.
Junior Coach of the Year went to Trevor Long. Long was acknowledged by SHC for his dedication, enthusiasm, and for being a positive role model within the club.
Neil Hannsen, an SHC Board Member and Coach, won the Terry Grykuliak Memorial Award. This award acknowledges someone who serves SHC in an official capacity, and who demonstrates dedication and an on-going willingness to help out.
Conner Scammel, from the Sturgeon Sting Midget AA team, was awarded the Bradley Arcand Yellowdirt Memorial Award. Scammel was described at the ceremony as, “…hard working, always coming to the rink with a good attitude.”
The Dacs Grey Memorial Award went to Adam Mueller from the Bantam AA Sturgeon Sting, nominated by his head coach. Mueller was selected by SHC for his leadership abilities on and off the ice.
From the Peewee AA Sting team, Ashton Funk won the Nicholas Deschene Outstanding Peewee Player Award for exemplifying sportsmanship, volunteerism in the community, scholastic achievement, and more.
The Leigh Kilarski Memorial Award was given to first-year Atom player, Seth Camarta. This award signifies the player in known to his peers for showing respect and enthusiasm, and for his motivation (among other things).
Peyton Panich, from the Novice One team, was recognized with the Kevin Lynch Memorial Award for being most improved in the areas of skating and hockey skills/sense. “His strengths are end-to-end hustles, and he has developed a periphery vision where he’s able to see and create plays more than most players, especially at this young age,” noted his coaches in their nomination.
The Jeff Richardson Memorial Award for Top Senior Goaltender went to Caleb Nolin, a second year Bantam goalie who only lost a single league game during the entire 2016/17 season.
The Jeff Richardson Memorial Award for Top Junior Goaltender was awarded to Tyler Swanson, a first-year Atom goalie. It was noted during the ceremony that Swanson is (most likely) one of the first players from SHC to be invited to tryout for Team Brick Alberta.
The Brian Puchala Special Moments Award went to Eli Swanson, who was specially selected by the Puchala family.
SHC already looking forward to next hockey season
Though the hockey season has come to a close, SHC is already preparing for next year. Registration for the 2017/18 season opened in May (more information is available on the club’s website).
Along with a new season also come new changes for SHC’s Executive Board. Scharmann is stepping down as Communications Coordinator, and several other positions will also see new people taking the lead.
“There will be significant change,” said Scharmann, who indicated SHC would have a new Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, Director of Tournaments, Fundraising Lead, and Director of Hockey Operations next season (all volunteer positions).
SHC currently has upwards of 320 players, all from the Sturgeon County area. Kids as young as four-years-old can join the club, starting in the Learn to Play program. SHC offers organized hockey from Initiation level (aged 4-6 years old) up to the Midget level (aged 15-17 years old) and is home to the regional AA team, the Sturgeon Sting (a rep team for the area).