Around the same time the ice was being removed from the Smithers Civic Centre, signalling the end of yet another season, the Smithers Minor Hockey Association chose to honour the players, parents and volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to making the season a success.
As part of the annual awards ceremony at the Roi Theatre last Wednesday, players from each of the 15 teams from initiation to midget were given trophies for how they behaved both on and off the ice over the last eight months.
“It’s nice to see all the kids recognized, not even just the ones that won awards, that’s always nice. But all the kids who come and put on their uniforms with their friends and their parents get to see them up on stage. It’s a nice way to end the season,” said Dave Turko, president of the association.
Memorial awards that were decided by the coaches were also handed out to players in the peewee and midget divisions.
The Lee W. Arnold Memorial Award winners for most inspirational players in the peewee division went to Liam Carroll and Noah Remillard.
The Roger Logan Memorial Award recipient, dedicated to the pee wee house player who demonstrated that they are playing hockey simply for the love of the game, was Lucas Chiaravalloti.
The most sportsmanlike players in the bantam division were Colton Bradford and Jacob Groot, while the most inspirational players in the midget division were Brayden Karrer and Sebastian Lowe.
“To be honest, they were announcing the trophies and I wasn’t paying attention and they called my name for the [Mark Greene Memorial] Award and I was pretty excited,” said Lowe, who wrapped up his eleventh and final season with minor hockey.
“It was a great experience, I loved it. The tournaments were fun, the coaching was great, playing hockey is awesome.”
This year’s unsung heroes in the midget division were Rylan Smaha-Muir and Bryce Deveau, and the most coachable players in the bantam division were Ethan Tucker and Hannah Pow.
Owen Sikkes with the Smokescreen Graphics Storm was named the goalie of the year, while Darren Fillier was named the volunteer/coach of the year.
This year’s Rob and Belinda Layfield Award recipient, which is given to a member showing hard work and perseverance for the good of the association as whole, was Helga Steenhof.
“I actually had received the minutes for our last meeting and I saw it on there that I had won the award. So it was kind of shock and surprise,” said Steenhof on winning the award.
“The list of people who have won this award is pretty amazing. I’m just grateful that I had an opportunity to be involved with Smithers minor hockey. It’s a fantastic organization and the people in it are in it for the good of the sport and the good of the kids.”
Steenhof worked as the referee in chief for the past seven years, organizing training for officials and scheduling them to ref games.
But it was a bitter-sweet night for Steenhof, as this is her last season with the association.
“It’s time for some new blood to come in. I changed a few things, brought in officiating [scheduling] online and on-ice training sessions, but now it’s time for someone else to step in and take it to a new level,” she said.
Memorial award winners in the initiation to atom divisions include Tyler Davidson, Allen Miller, Spencer Bird, Matthew Tucker and Jennifer and Dennis Conlon.