Groundbreaking season honoured
Hockey: OOAA hands out awards at annual banquet
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 06:00 am
A season to remember for Okotoks minor hockey turned into a night dozens of players won’t soon forget.
Foothills skaters earned a staggering six South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) awards to highlight a tremendous season from the AA and AAA ranks honoured at the annual Okotoks Oilers Athletic Association (OOAA) awards banquet, April 8 at the Foothills Centennial Centre.
For Okotoks Midget AA Oiler Ryan St. Jean, voted Top Defenceman in the SCAHL, the best defence starts with a good offensive acumen.
“I like jumping in the play, moving the puck around on the powerplay and quarterbacking it. I feel like I was a good offensive presence,” said St. Jean, a Grade 12 student at Holy Trinity Academy. “It’s Midget AA so there are a lot of good defencemen in the league. (This award) could have gone to anyone.”
The statistics don’t lie. St. Jean’s 45 points (14 goals, 31 assists) put him in the top-15 in league scoring to help lift the Oilers to a dominant 29-win, first-place regular season.
After being upset in the second-round of the playoffs, the Oilers bounced back at the provincial tourney where they fought off an opening loss and later a 4-1 deficit in round-robin play to advance to the gold-medal game, only to lose 5-4 to Calgary for the banner.
“We lost our first game and with it being last year for us we had to step it up and take it by the horns and come back and win all our games,” said St. Jean. “It was a tough loss in the finals, but I like the way we all battled back.”
Midget AA Oilers captain Brodie Wilson got some much deserved recognition with SCAHL Top Scorer honours. Wilson’s 53 assists and 72 points were tops in the loop. The fearless forward completed his prolific three years with the Oilers with a trio of team awards as Wilson walked away as Top Scorer, Oiler Award winner and recipient of the Black Elk Scholarship.
Down in Bantam, the Okotoks Bantam AA Oilers matched their back-to-back league championship with consecutive league awards.
Puck-moving blueliner Jack McArdle was voted Top Defenceman in the SCAHL. The second-year rearguard produced at nearly a point-per-game clip with 7 goals and 25 helpers in 33 games from the back-end.
“Our defence corps was probably the best in the league, we worked the best, and I couldn’t have done it without my D-partners,” said McArdle, a Grade 9 student at John Paul II Collegiate. “How we did this year was really good, the award wouldn’t really mean much to me if we didn’t win this year.
“It went to game five and it was a close game and we stuck together as a team and pulled through. It was a great group of guys we had this year and good to win it with them.”
Teammate Hunter Young took home Top Goaltender honours in recognition of a remarkable rookie campaign. Among regular starters, the 13-year-old netminder owned the lowest goals against average at 1.70 and finished second in the loop with a .920 save percentage while splitting starts with Josh Ruigrok. Young lost just one of his 16 starts in the regular season for the Oilers.
“It was nice to win it. I was coming off not that good of a team, I had a rough year last year,” said Young, a Grade 8 student at Senator Riley School in High River. “It was nice coming to Okotoks. We had a really good team, a great year.
“I had some personal goals to get three shutouts in the year and also to get top in the league.”
Captain Brandt Black was also a big winner among the Okotoks Bantam AA Oilers. The relentless forward walked away as MVP, Top Scorer and Black Elk Scholarship recipient.
In the Peewee AA ranks, Okotoks captain Peyton Krebs parlayed a prolific sophomore season into a pair of league awards. Krebs produced a staggering 66 goals and 109 points in just 31 games to finish as SCAHL Top Scorer and Most Valuable Player among forwards.
All told, the OOAA produced two league champions, three finalists, provincial gold and silver medallists and five regular season division titles. The six league awards bookend a tremendous season for the association and one of new beginnings.
“We did a quick check and we think we’ve won two in the past 10 years and this year we’ve won six,” OOAA vice-president Brad Beebe told the crowd. “It’s a wonderful achievement. I think it speaks to the strength of the association, more importantly I think it speaks to the strength of our coaches.
“I also think it speaks to the strength of our partner association, the OMHA (Okotoks Minor Hockey Association) and their development because they have our players for a lot longer than we do.”
Elsewhere, Highwood Midget AAA Raiders graduating forward Emily Potts completed the trifecta in finishing as Raiders’ Top Scorer for all of her three seasons with the club, registering over 100 points in that time.
Longview’s Kaylin Snodgrass, Highwood’s captain, capped off her minor hockey career with yet another Top Defenceman and Black Elk Scholarship award for the University of British Columbia bound standout.
The future looks promising for Highwood after the Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Female Raiders swept their way to a third straight provincial championship. Okotoks’ Kennedy Brown, who head coach Jordan Fenton labelled the toughest pound-for-pound player at the banquet, took home the Oiler Award and Black Elk Scholarship given to the player with the top school marks on the squad.
The Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Raiders’ historic season, highlighted by the first-playoff appearance in team history, had a distinct foothills flavour to it.
Okotoks netminder Isaiah Betinol was named team MVP, fellow-Okotokian Brendon Borbely took home Top Defenceman honours and Priddis’ Dylan Prpich was Top Scorer with a 27 goal, 42 point campaign.
For more information go to ooaaoilerhockey.ca
Okotoks Midget AA Oilers:
Most Improved PlayerJordan McCarthy. Top Scorer - Brodie Wilson. Top Defenceman - Ryan St. Jean. Oiler Award - Brodie Wilson. Black Elk Scholarship - Brodie Wilson. MVP - Sean McMaster.
Highwood Midget AAA Female Raiders:
Most Improved Player - Courtney Toney. Top Scorer - Emily Potts. Top Defenceman - Kaylin Snodgrass. Oiler Award - Hannah Olenyk. Black Elk Scholarship - Kaylin Snodgrass. MVP - Gabrielle Seper.
Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Female Raiders:
Most Improved Player - Hailey McCallum. Top Scorer - Taylor Sawka. Top Defenceman - Jane Jacobs. Oiler Award - Kennedy Brown. Black Elk Scholarship - Kennedy Brown. MVP - Taylor Sawka.
Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Raiders:
Most Improved Player - Ty Budai. Top Scorer - Dylan Prpich. Top Defenceman - Brendon Borbely. Oiler Award - Nolan Steer. Black Elk Scholarship - Coby Proctor. MVP - Isaiah Betinol.
Okotoks Bantam AA Oilers :
Most Improved Player: Noah Wakeford. Top Scorer - Brandt Black. Top Defenceman - Jack McArdle. Oiler Award - Jackson Salt. Black Elk Scholarship - Brandt Black. MVP - Brandt Black.
Okotoks Peewee AA Oilers:
Most Improved Player: Andrew Bonham. Top Scorer: Peyton Krebs. Top Defenceman - Kirby Proctor. Oiler Award - Jaevon Buschlen. Black Elk Scholarship -Ivan Chtchadov. MVP - Peyton Krebs.
Graduating players: Kyle Becker, Matt Forchuk, Robbie McLean, Sean McMaster, Taylor McNeill, Ryan St. Jean, Mark Nerland, Garrett Mason, Michael Stach, Brodie Wilson, Isaac Stewart, Griffin Segboer, Cora Place, Emily Potts, Kaylin Snodgrass, Pippa Bagley, Hannah Olenyk, Tamala Whiteside, Gabrielle Seper.
Kletzel Scholarship Award - Dakota Krebs.
Ralph Brown OOAA Volunteer of the Year - Karen Arnholtz