Depourcq and Wilson explained just how proud they were of this particular group of young men, especially for persevering through the 'challenges' that they were forced to withstand throughout this season. Not only did they have a tough start to the season (winning just 5 of their first 15) but they also endured unspeakable tragedy.
While climbing all the way from the bottom of the standings, the Steam lost two former teammates (Alex Fraser and Ryan Donaldson) in the span of a week. It was a very emotional and difficult situation for this group of young men that could have very easily sent the Steam train off the rails for the remainder of the season. Instead it brought the boys together as they tried to make a push for first place in the division and an Okanagan Division Championship banner, and they succeeded. The first-place push culminated with a showdown vs the Kelowna Chiefs, who had been perched atop the Okanagan Division since essentially the beginning of the season.
That game took place on the last weekend of the season on February 21 in Kelowna, and ended in a score of 3-1 in favour of the Summerland Steam. Braden Saretsky netted the winner and Kienan Scott sealed the win into an empty net to complete the worst-to-first transformation and bring home an Okanagan Division Championship banner.
It is the first junior hockey banner the town of Summerland has ever been able to hang in the Summerland Arena, and that is just one more thing that will make this extremely special group of young men stand together forever.
On a night that was put together to put a nice wrap on a season that was a special one in Summerland, there was some hardware that needed to be given out. We'll start with the awards won by Steam players and staff as decided upon by the KIJHL, and then we'll get to the team awards.
At the start of the playoffs, coach John Depourcq was presented with the Coach of the Year Award for the Okanagan Division. A well deserved award for not only a great hockey coach, but a great person. John did a wonderful job with the Steam in 2013-2014, and did a great job getting his players to buy into his system while he worked with them to improve their skills and get some of them ready to make the jump to the next level. Everything you want in a coach, really, and the award was well deserved.
Kienan Scott was also handed some hardware by the KIJHL prior to Thursday night's awards. At the start of the playoffs, Kienan was awarded the Rookie of the Year for the Okanagan Division as well as Most Valuable Player for the Okanagan Division. He was also named the Rookie of the Year for the entire KIJHL, amassing 32 goals and 24 Assists for 56 points in just 39 Games Played. A true talent with an eye for the net, Kienan provided the Steam with added offensive punch while having a knack for scoring big goals, and he was an absolute pleasure to watch all season long. I said it in-broadcast many times that when you need a big goal, call #91, and he never disappoints.
We should also mention Steam goaltender Brett Huber in this section. Although he was not credited with the Goaltender of the Year Award for the Okanagan Division, he very well should have been. Some would in fact think he got absolutely robbed of the honour, based on his numbers and the numbers of the rest of the Okanagan Division goaltenders. Huber did all he could to keep the Steam in hockey games, particularly during the 7 game losing streak in October/early November when the guys in front of him were as snakebitten as I've ever seen. For that quality, Huber was named the regular season MVP for the Steam this season. A well deserved honour for a fine young man who played a lot of minutes this season in the Summerland crease.
In 36 appearances this season (4th most in the KIJHL), Huber recorded a 21-11-1 record with 1 shutout. In those appearances Huber put together a 2.70 GAA and a .914 SV%, good for 5th overall in the entire KIJHL in terms of numbers.
The Steam handed out their team awards last night, and here's a list of the winners, including the Volunteer of the Year, Fan of the Year, and Sponsor of the Year:
Volunteer(s) of the Year: Kim Chadwick, Lisa West, Susie Pond
One award just wasn't enough as we could not choose just one of our fantastic volunteers, so we picked 3. The winners were Kim Chadwick, Lisa West, and Susie Pond. All play vital parts in making the organization successful as Kim sells our 50/50 every night, Lisa spends thankless hours between screaming players in the scorekeeper's box, and Susie takes care of the front table selling tickets, programs, and chuck-a-puck (most of the time by herself).
Sponsor(s) of the Year: Nester's Market, Summerland IGA, Murray GM
Without Corporate Sponsorship, Junior hockey at any level doesn't operate. It's as simple as that. Our sponsors mean the world to us, and this season we had 3 that stood apart from the rest. Nesters Market, Summerland IGA, and Murray GM were our winners on the night, each taking home a plaque and a very big THANK YOU from the Summerland Steam organization.
Fan of the Year Award: Debbie Harrison
She was at every game this season and even traveled to the nearby road games, and her cowbell was heard by the boys each and every night. We call her 'the cowbell lady,' and she has a very special place in our hearts. This year's Fan of the Year, for the second season in a row was Debbie Harrison.
Rookie of the Year Award & Top Scorer Award: Kienan Scott
He won it for the division, and he won it for the entire KIJHL, so it was very difficult for the Steam to give it to anyone but Kienan Scott. Kienan also picks up the Top Scorer Award, as he led the team in scoring along with his linemates Paulsen Lautard and Daylan Robertson, who all finished with 56 points in the regular season. Scott takes home the award based on his number of games played being less than both Robertson and Lautard.
Scholastic Award & Top Defenseman: Josh Dacosta
Not only is Josh a smart hockey player, he's a pretty bright kid, and he takes home this year's Scholastic Award as well as being the Steam's Top Defenseman for 2013-2014. He played every game for the Steam this season, and he was the only player on the roster besides Brett Huber to dress each and every night. Josh is solid in his own zone and brings an offensive touch to the team that is much appreciated. He has the ability to get a shot through, which is an important quality for a defenseman. As far as his scholastics are concerned, for his professors sake, I hope his penmanship is as smooth as his skating stride.
Most Sportsmanlike: Rylan Sideroff
Rylan could have also won Most Versatile and been in the running for Most Improved player on the Steam roster this season, but with just 25 Penalty Minutes in 44 Games Played he picks up the Most Sportsmanlike Player Award for the Steam this season. Rylan made a mid-season change for coach John Depourcq, moving from forward to defense out of necessity due to injury. He excelled, becoming one of the coaches most counted upon defensemen down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Fan Favourite: Olli Dickson
Olli's personality on and off the ice is what got him the 'Fan Favourite' award for the Steam this season. He is a very well-spoken young man who wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve, and he became the emotional leader of the hockey team this season. He gave his absolute best each and every night to his team and the fans, and whenever there was a media request or radio call he was the first guy in line. Accountable and passionate are the two words I would use to best describe Olli, and this organization will certainly miss him as he moves on to bigger and better things after his 20 year old season.
Playoff MVP: Daylan Robertson
We called him 'Captain Clutch' for a reason this season. Any time the game was on the line, whether the Steam needed a goal in the offensive end or needed to keep one out of their own net, the Robertson line was on the ice. A quiet, lead by example type of leader is what was needed in the Steam locker room this season, and Robertson provided that for his teammates and his coaches. It showed on the ice, as they recorded their best season in franchise history and brought a banner home to the Summerland Arena.
Time To Say Goodbye
It's always a tough thing to say goodbye to the 20 year olds each and every year. This group, however, is especially tough. These 5 guys move on from the KIJHL with a bond that will not be broken. They started playing hockey together at age 5 in the Penticton Minor Hockey system, and had the pleasure after all the years playing together to finish off their KI careers together in Summerland. We are very thankful for their service to our team and our community, and without them we might have been in a different situation at year's end. Let's have a quick look at some career numbers for these 5 guys, who've played a lot of KIJHL hockey over the past 3 or 4 years:
Darren Hogg, Goaltender, #35: Nelson Leafs, Osoyoos Coyotes, Summerland Steam
Regular Season: 69 GP, 39-22-1 record, 20 PIM, 2 Assists, 2 SO. 3.10 GAA, .905 SV%
Playoffs: 11GP, 4-6 record, 1 Goal, 3 Assists, 3.15 GAA, .918 SV%
Josh Dacosta, Defenseman, #7: Summerland Steam
Regular Season: 127 GP, 26 Goals, 46 Assists, 72 Points, 130 PIM
Playoffs: 13GP, 1 Goal, 4 Assists, 5 Points
Dylan Burton, Forward, #13: Penticton Lakers, Osoyoos Coyotes, Summerland Steam
Regular Season: 181 GP, 89 Goals, 77 Assists, 166 Points, 199 PIM
Playoffs: 14GP, 3 Goals, 5 Assists, 8 Points, 65 PIM
Sam Nigg, Forward, #9: Grand Forks Border Bruins, Osoyoos Coyotes, Penticton Lakers, Kimberly Dynamiters, Summerland Steam
Regular Season: 177 GP, 42 Goals, 113 Assists, 155 Points, 10 Game Winners (!!) and 273 PIM
Playoffs: 36 GP, 7 Goals, 7 Assists, 14 Points, 31 PIM
Olli Dickson, Forward, #21: Kimberly Dynamiters, Summerland Steam
Regular Season: 165 GP, 31 Goals, 63 Assists, 94 Points, **734 PIM
Playoffs: 28 GP, 7 Goals, 4 Assists, 11 Points, 36 PIM
**Dickson's 734 career regular season Penalty Minutes rank 3rd most in the KIJHL since 2005-2006.
As the season winds down for the 2013-2014 Summerland Steam we look forward to the 2014-2015 edition of the team, which will be formed over the coming months starting April 4-6 at Spring Camp. Look for us out in the community trying to connect with you!
As always, follow along with the Steam on Facebook at 'Summerland Junior B Hockey Club' and on Twitter with @SteamKIJHL and myself, @Steam_Voice