With a first-round playoff victory against the Delhi Travellers fresh in their memories, the Wellesley Applejacks took a rest January 31 for their annual awards banquet. Held at Kennedy’s Tavern in St. Agatha, the banquet gave the Jacks’ coaching staff a chance to shower the team with praise.“That was an amazing job, that was an amazing series,” said volunteer Rick Grebinski of the playoffs, before adding, “and I can’t count the number of heart attacks I had sitting in that room up there.”
“When you’ve got a team like we have, there’s not a player that wasn’t considered for an award,” said head coach Kevin Fitzpatrick. “Somebody said, ‘Do they feel the pressure?’ Absolutely not. If there’s one thing this team’s not gonna do, it’s feel pressure.”
The prize for Top Scorer was shared by Corey Way and Troy Williams, who each scored 45 points during the season. Rookie of the Year honours went to Michael Pollice, and Most Improved went to Mark Detzler.
“Mark is doing what every one of these guys should do, and that’s coach,” said Fitzpatrick.
Goalie Josh Heer picked up the Coach’s Award for Most Dedication. Fitzpatrick noted that Heer was always “pestering me at one o’clock in the morning after a win or a loss, analyzing things.”
Most Valuable Local Player was awarded to Reid Denstedt, with Most Valuable Defenceman going to Coleton Madge and Most Sporstmanlike to Troy Williams.
A new award – the “Top Jack Award” for top volunteer – was given to Verna Metcalfe, who has volunteered for 20 of the team’s 25-year history.
“It’s a full-time job trying to keep track of these guys,” said Metcalfe in her speech. “It’s really been an exciting time – I’ve just loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. There’s times I’ve threatened to go into the dressing room and let them know they’re not playing the way they should be, but the coaches haven’t let me in there yet.”
Finally, the President’s Trophy for Most Valuable Player went to team captain Corey Way.
“Taking over as captain this year wasn’t an easy task,” said Fitzpatrick. “He kinda came into that, excelled at it, and has done a tremendous job.”
On Wednesday night, the Jacks were on the road to face the Hagersville Hawks for the next round of playoffs, before returning to home ice on Friday. The next home game is Sunday at 7:30 p.m.