AJHL Announces 2014 – 2015 League Award Winners

The Alberta Junior Hockey League, in partnership RBC, is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 League Award Winners in seven prestigious categories.  The award recipients will be presented with their trophies and recognized at a home game throughout the final week of the AJHL regular season and 2015 AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs.

Most Valuable Player- Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy / Top Goaltender – Friends of AJHL Trophy

Okotoks Oilers goaltender Nic Renyard is the 2014-2015 AJHL Most Valuable Player and Top Goaltender.  The 20 year-old goaltender is wrapping up a record setting regular season for the Oilers and leads all AJHL goaltenders in the areas of wins and save percentage.  Renyard has already set a new franchise record for Most Shutouts and is on track to break the single season franchise record for Lowest Goals Against Average as well.

The Victoria, BC goaltender joined the Oilers from the BCHL in September 2014 and kicked off the season by recording 13 games without a regulation loss (12-0-1).  Throughout the season, Nic amassed two 7+ game winning streaks.  Renyard was the recipient of the Viterra AJHL Player of the Game five times, and was also named as the Alberta Dodge Dealers AJHL Player of the Month in October 2014 when he posted a 8-0 record.

Renyard has committed to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen of the NCAA Division I Hockey East Conference. 

The last Oiler to win the AJHL MVP Award was goaltender Brad Eidsness in 2007-2008.  Nic Renyard is the first Oiler to win the Friends of Alberta Junior Hockey League Trophy as the Top Goaltender in the AJHL.  The Top Goaltender Award is awarded to the goalie who demonstrated the greatest ability in his position throughout the season as voted on by the league’s General Managers and Coaches. 

• 2014-2015 AJHL MVP Award Finalists: Jarid Hauptman – Spruce Grove Saints; Jetlan Houcher – Fort McMurray Oil Barons; Austin Plevy – Brooks Bandits; Nic Renyard – Okotoks Oilers
• 2013-2014 AJHL MVP Award Winner: Trey Phillips, Canmore Eagles

• 2014-2015 Top Goaltender Award Finalists: Tommy Nixon – Sherwood Park Crusaders; Zach Fortin – Fort McMurray Oil Barons; Nic Renyard – Okotoks Oilers; Devin McDonald – Camrose Kodiaks
• 2013-2014 Top Goaltender Award Winner: Tanner Jaillet, Fort McMurray Oil Barons

Rookie of the Year – Dick White Trophy, Presented by Canalta Hotels

The 2014-2015 AJHL Rookie of the Year is Brandon Biro of the Spruce Grove Saints.  The 16 year-old forward has broke into the AJHL scoring an average of 1.0 points per game and ranks amongst the Top 10 in the AJHL Scoring Race with 54 points.  The Sherwood Park, Alberta native leads all AJHL rookies and is currently second in team scoring.

Brandon Biro recorded multiple 3 point games throughout his first AJHL regular season, recorded 2 game winning goals, and was selected as the Viterra AJHL Player of the Game six times for his contributions. 

The last Saints player to win the Dick White Trophy as AJHL Rookie of the Year was Dillon Simpson in 2009-2010.

• 2014-2015 Award Finalists: Brinson Pasichnuk – Bonnyville Pontiacs; Brandon Biro – Spruce Grove Saints; Trey Degraaf – Okotoks Oilers; Kodi Schwarz – Olds Grizzlys
• 2013-2014 Award Winner: Christopher Gerrie, Olds Grizzlys

Outstanding Defenceman- W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy

The recipient of the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy as Outstanding Defenceman is Linden Springer of the Brooks Bandits.  Springer is completing a career high season and averaging 0.8 points per game with over 40 points to date.  Springer leads all AJHL defencemen in scoring and is among the Top 40 in AJHL Scoring.  He was recognized as the Viterra AJHL Player of the Game four times throughout the regular season. 

“Linden has the ability to impact a hockey game in many ways,” stated Bandits GM / Head Coach Ryan Papaioannou.  “Offensively he's able to create scoring in even strength and power play situations, while defensively he plays big minutes against other teams’ top lines and intangibly brings an element of physicality that every team needs.  Add his tremendous leadership qualities to the mix and he becomes one of the top defencemen in the AJHL.”

The 20 year-old AJHL veteran is wrapping up his third and final season in the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits after being traded from the Lloydminster Bobcats in January 2015.

The Outstanding Defenceman award is given annually to the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season.   Linden Springer is the first Bandits players to win the AJHL Outstanding Defenceman Award.

• 2014-2015 Outstanding Defenceman Award Finalists: Ryan Black – Bonnyville Pontiacs; James Vermeulen – Whitecourt Wolverines; Linden Springer – Brooks Bandits; Ryan Suchorab – Drumheller Dragons
• 2013-2014 Outstanding Defenceman Award Winner: Trey Phillips, Canmore Eagles

Most Dedicated Player – Don McNabb Memorial Trophy

Parker MacKay of the Spruce Grove Saints is the winner of the 2014-2015 Most Dedicated Player Award.  MacKay led the Spruce Grove Saints as Team Captain to the top of the AJHL North Division Standings with a dominant season. 

MacKay averaged a point per game through the regular season and received four Viterra AJHL Player of the Game awards in recognition of his impact on the game.  MacKay (Irma, Alberta) is a 20 year-old forward and a three year veteran of the Spruce Grove Saints. 

“Parker couldn't be more deserving of this award,” stated Saints GM / Head Coach Jason McKee.  “His commitment to playing a complete 200 foot game and his willingness to sacrifice for his teammates truly makes him a special player. For the past three seasons Parker has proven to be a great representative of our organization and the Alberta Junior Hockey League.”

The Don McNabb Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged the most dedicated to his team.   Nate Fleming was the last Saints player to receive the award in 2009-2010.

• 2014-2015 Award Finalists: Mitchell Vanderlaan – Fort McMurray Oil Barons; Parker Mackay – Spruce Grove Saints; Tanner Ockey – Okotoks Oilers; Connor Wilson – Canmore Eagles
• 2013-2014 Award Winner: Anthony Paskaruk, Brooks Bandits

Coach of the Year

For a second consecutive year, Jason McKee of the Spruce Grove Saints has been selected as the AJHL Coach of the Year.  McKee has been a finalist of the award for four straight years (2012-2015) and becomes the fourth coach in AJHL history to win the award in back to back seasons.  Most recently, Steve Hamilton was a two-time recipient of the award as Head Coach of the Saints in 2009 and 2010.

McKee and the Saints held a dominant lead in the Viterra AJHL North Division Standings throughout the regular season and have the potential to finish the season with the best overall record in the AJHL for the third time in McKee’s reign as Head Coach.  

The Saints were ranked amongst the leaders of the CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings consistently throughout the regular season. Spruce Grove leads the AJHL with a record of 47-6-5 and 99 points with just two regular season games remaining.  The Saints lead the league with 246 goals for, and are set to break the single season league record for Fewest Goals Against (115 GA).  Four members of the 2014-2015 Spruce Grove Saints were finalists for AJHL League Awards. 

The 35 year-old coach has held the position of Saints Head Coach and General Manager for five seasons, guiding the team to the AJHL final in 2011, 2013, 2014 and capturing the League Title in 2011 and 2014.   

• 2014-2015 Award Finalists: Rick Swan – Bonnyville Pontiacs; Jason McKee – Spruce Grove Saints; Boris Rybalka – Camrose Kodiaks; James Poole – Okotoks Oilers
• 2013-2014 Award Winner: Jason McKee, Spruce Grove Saints

Stewy Stewart Memorial – Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy

Austin Kernahan of the Olds Grizzlys is the recipient of the 2015 Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy.  The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is named in honour of a long-time Calgary area fan who supported hockey at all levels. “Stewy” died in 1997 and the award was created to honour his support and commitment to the game.  The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the AJHL player in the South Division that best exhibits the following attributes: character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.

Austin Kernahan (Calgary) is in his fourth and final AJHL season as a member of the Olds Grizzlys as was an Assistant Captain in 2014-2015.  The 20 year-old forward has played 197 regular season games for the Grizzlys and tallied 80 points in his AJHL career thus far.

Kernahan was nominated for the Stewy Stewart Memorial  Award by the Olds Grizzlys Coaching Staff.  Each applicant is required to submit an essay which outlines his experience applying the attributes of character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.  The following are excerpts from Kernahan’s essay submission:

“Throughout my AJHL hockey career I have learnt many valuable lessons about how to be a successful leader, both on the ice and within the Olds community. Although playing hockey on the Olds Grizzlys has taught me many valuable skills, I can attribute much of my growth as an individual to one of my greatest influences – Chad Jehn. Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to live with a family that has taken guardianship of Chad, a 26-year old who has Down Syndrome. Initially, it was difficult to understand Chad because he predominantly communicated non-verbally through signing with his hands. However, as our friendship grew, it became much easier and now I am able to understand almost everything he says. Now, we have grown a very close friendship and I consider him to be a brother to me.”

“This year, I have been given the opportunity to work with Chad as a full-time job. Our day usually starts at 9 AM and, if we aren't working No Frills grocery store, we are found volunteering at the local food bank until it is time to go to the rink for practice. Over the past two years, Chad has solidified himself as a part of our team. He helps with practice in anyway he can, from filling up water bottles to immediately cheering up anyone as soon as he comes into the room. In my eyes, a team isn’t just the players on the ice, but a group of brothers that work together towards goal, despite all the ups and downs a team can face throughout a season. Although he has taught me so much about respecting others, I have taught him that in life there are wins and loses. Furthermore, I have taught him that you can’t win all of the time, so you have to learn from your mistakes and loses and grow to be better.”

“Over the past four years being in the AJHL, playing in the league and living in the town of Olds has taught me that success does not only come on the ice but also in the community. Moreover in order for a team to be successful, it is important to reach out those within the community. Chad’s impact on my life and the lessons he has taught me have made me a stronger, more complete person and I know that at the end of this season, when my Junior Hockey career is over, I will have a lifelong friend from this incredible experience.”

The following League Awards will also be presented at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 AJHL Regular Season.

  • Regular Season Champion – Dave Duchak Trophy
  • Scoring Champion – Ernie Love Trophy
  • Top Team Goaltenders – Reebok / CCM Top Team Goaltenders Award
  • Viterra Cup