Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 15, 2015, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Saanich Braves open the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) playoffs against the Westshore Wolves this coming Wednesday, but on Sunday night, they took a few hours out of their preparations to honour a number of players and volunteers for their contributions over the 2014-2015 season.
Jack Rachwalski (centre), here receiving the MVP award from Head Coach Brad Cook (right) and sponsor Tor Pedersen of Slegg Lumber (left), was also honoured with the team’s Iron Man Award (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The awards dinner was held at the DaVinci Centre in Esquimalt and players, staff, family and friends enjoyed a nice buffet dinner by Island Culinary Service.
The big winner on the night, was forward Jack Rachwalski, who took home the Most Valuable Player Award, as well as the Iron Man Award, having played in all of the Braves 48 games this season.
Mackenzie Valentine (centre) received the Student Athlete Award and was named the team’s Top Defenceman. Coach Brad Cook (left) and owner Norm Kelly (right) make the presentation (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Another double award winner was Mackenzie Valentine, who took home the Student Athlete Award as well as the Top Defenceman Award.
Goaltender Brandon Ward, who played over 1900 minutes in the Braves crease this season, tops in the VIJHL, was honoured with Rookie of the Year Honours, while Jordan Parmar took home the Most Improved Player Award.
Brandon Ward (centre) was named Rookie of the Year (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Nick Kean was honoured as the Braves Top Scorer, while second leading scorer Evan Horvath was selected as the team’s Unsung Hero for the season.
Ben Meek was named the winner of the Coaches Award, while recently added Liam Sproule was given the Norm Kelly Consulting Award as Top Playoff Contributor from the previous season. Meek and Sproule, along with Captain Dayne Ellison were also honoured as the Braves three graduating players for the season, receiving Braves jerseys and framed action photos from team photographer Christian J. Stewart as gifts.
Nick Kean (right) acquired at the trading deadline, finished as the Braves Leading Scorer (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Forward Jordan Parmar (right) was named Most Improved Player (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The team also acknowledged the full range of volunteers and staff that perform a multitude of duties behind the scenes to keep the team on the ice. Notably Equipment Manager Bob Hleuka was honoured with the Most Dedicated Volunteer Award.
Ben Meek (centre) received the 2015 Coaches Award (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Recently returned defenceman Liam Sproule (centre) was given the Nork Kelly Consulting Award for being the 2014 Top Playoff Performer (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Braves open the 2015 VIJHL playoffs on Wednesday with Game 1 against Westshore at The Q Centre at 7:00 pm, with Game 2 Friday night at Pearkes at 6:30 pm. Game 3 is back at The Q Centre on Sunday the 20th at 5:00 pm, with Game 4 at Pearkes on Monday, Feb. 23 at 6:00 pm. Should they be needed, Game 5 goes Wednesday Feb. 25 at The Q Centre at 7:00 pm, Game 6 on Friday Feb. 27 at Pearkes at 6:30 pm and Game 7 on Sunday March 1 at The Q Centre at 7:00 pm.
Graduating players Liam Sproule, Dayne Ellison and Ben Meek (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
See all photos from the awards banquet at: