In the lull between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference doled out its awards Monday night at a banquet in Cambridge. Two Elmira Sugar Kings were recognized for their outstanding performance this season.
Forward Jarred Parent of West Montrose took home the Leroy Jamieson Memorial Trophy, which recognizes a player’s outstanding contributions to one team, and defenceman Wade Pfeffer of Palmerston was named to the conference’s second all-star team.
“Wade came over from Guelph, and we needed him to provide some offence from our defence, and he has done that,” said head coach Geoff Haddaway. “Wade likes to jump into the rush – there’s no secret there – and his defensive game has come a long way, and I think that’s why he was recognized.”
The 5’10” defenceman led the team in scoring from the back end with nine goals and 39 points on the season, good for eighth in league scoring among defence, and he was particularly effective on the powerplay where he scored four goals and added 13 assists.
Of Parent, now in his fourth year with the Sugar Kings, Haddaway said it is all of the little intangibles about his game that really stick out in his mind, and are what made him the ideal candidate for the award.
“I’ve coached the kid for three years and I’m not sure if he’s ever taken a shift off,” said the coach. “He’s played poorly – not very often – but every shift he plays hard. It makes him more coachable and endears him to his teammates.”
Parent, who registered a career-high 15 goals and 30 assists, was fifth in team scoring, but Haddaway said it isn’t his skill that beats opponents most nights, but his work ethic.
“In terms of pure skill he isn’t going to win a lot of one-on-one skill battles, but he’s a champion and he’s got heart. That’s the way he plays every single game, and it’s just contagious,” said Haddaway. “You can’t play on his line and not compete the way he does, or else you’re going to be embarrassed because he’ll be a one-man show out there.”
Other big winners on the night included Erik Belanger of the Guelph Hurricanes who took home the Unique Embroidery trophy as the Midwestern Conference scoring champion with 34 goals and 76 points in 48 games, and Stratford’s Mitchell McCrank who captured this year’s R.J. Noble Memorial Trophy as the rookie of the year after leading his team in scoring with 16 goals and 62 points while playing in all 51 games this season.