Sugar King forward Adam Campagnolo was named a first-team all star, while defenceman David Savery and netminder Hayden Neuman made the second team as the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference doled out the hardware Monday night.The awards banquet was held following last weekend’s wrap-up of the 2013-14 regular season.
“Every year I find the players take something away [from the event]. It’s a very heartfelt acknowledgement of the players. You’re on the verge of the season potentially finishing in a week or moving on and I think the guys really take that to heart,” said Sugar Kings general manager Paul Jennings.
With the regular season done, the real work is about to start, said Shawn McKelvie, chairman of the board for the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League to the full house gathered at Kitchener’s Conestoga Place banquet hall.
“This is serious stuff; you’re going to get a lot of coverage where maybe you haven’t before in terms of the press and the exposure. This is your opportunity to shine. Five-hundred and fifty-two guys in Ontario are going to participate to get the Southerland Cup, and only 23 are going to celebrate 10 weeks from now. Hopefully it will be somebody in this room. The odds are slim, so if you are going to be part of that slim majority you better decide right now.”
Several promising Sugar Kings were considered for awards this season. Jonathan Reinhart was a nominee for the RJ Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year, while Mitch Wright was named a candidate for player of the year and David Savery for best defenceman. A nomination for best sportsmanship and ability went out to Brad Kobryn, best defensive player to Rob Kohli and another nomination to Cass Frey for the Leroy Jamieson Memorial Award.
(At Sunday’s home game, Savery and Wright also shared the Barbara Schaefer Memorial Trophy for fan favourite.)
Looking back over the season, McKelvie declared it a success not only due to player accomplishment but the popularity of the boys within their respective communities.
The 2013-2014 regular season saw 49 games, scaled down from last year’s 51 games, with an average 489 fans per game, he said. League-wide, teams welcomed 317,300 fans through the doors of their arenas, up 10 per cent from last season despite holding fewer games.
“That’s better than anybody in the Ontario Hockey Association, nobody [else] is even close. You guys are a fan-favourite; they love you where you play. There are a lot of people that play in front of a lot less people and you guys are honoured to be a part of that.
“This is the best league in Ontario outside of the Ontario Hockey League, bar none. We’re up because we’re the best league there is,” McKelvie said.