(Photo Credit: Pro Sports Photography)
Camrose Kodiaks defenceman Jake Dube is the recipient of the 2016 Stewy Stewart Memorial Award. AJHL Chairman Greg Wood presented the award to Jake Dube prior to Sunday's final AJHL regular season game in Camrose, AB.
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.
Jake Dube has recorded a career high 35 points in the regular season and is among the Top 10 in scoring among all AJHL Defencmen. The 19 year-old defenceman from Cochrane, AB is in his third AJHL season, following two seasons with the Okotoks Oilers before being acquired by the Camrose Kodiaks for the 2015-2016 campaign.
The coaching staff of the Camrose Kodiaks nominated Jake for the Stewy Stewart Memorial Award. Along with a nomination, each applicant is required to submit an essay, which outlines his experience applying the attributes of character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship. The following is a copy of Jake Dube’s submitted essay:
Before I begin this letter, I would like to thank my coaches, Boris Rybalka and Doug Fleck, for nominating me for this award. It is a huge honor when coaches puts forward a player’s name for an award that represents passion for the game. For many kids growing up in Canada, hockey is our life. As Canadians, we all identify with the game and it brings us together as a nation. The game of hockey also provides us with an abundance of life lessons and helps shape who we are on and off the ice. I know, that because of hockey and all of the experiences that go with it, I am a better person. I have my parents, grandparents, brother, coaches, and teammates to thank for this. From these people, I received so much support, guidance, and leadership and I can never thank them enough.
The support and guidance I received from those who I have been involved with throughout my hockey career, have helped me develop character. My parents for example, have always reminded me that I am never too big because I play a game. I was once the small kid who idolized older hockey players, whether they were local Junior B players or players in the NHL. I cherished any opportunity I had to make any type of connection, no matter how small, to those older players. That defines me now. In terms of character, I always keep in mind that some minor hockey player might look up to me. As a result, I always make a point to go out of my way to make some sort of connection with kids. I am not comparing myself to Sidney Crosby by any means, but I will always remember the day I got his autograph. He stayed so long after practice to sign autographs that the bus back to the hotel left without him. He chose to take a cab. That memory has stuck with me to this day. My coaches, Boris and Doug, have also taught me a great deal about character. It is the little things they does like helping the team pack the bus and bag skating with us during practice that helps define their character.
To me, the way they carry themselves on and off the ice exemplifies character and I try to emulate them as much as I can. My grandparents passed on to me the spirit of volunteering. Now because of them, I try to get out into the community as much as possible. One of my favorite places to go is the learning assistance class at the school my mom works at. I look forward to spending time with these kids because their positive nature is contagious. Things we take for granted are sometimes a big deal for them. Just showing up to their classroom for a visit or sending them a text makes their day. When I am in the off season, I try as often as I can to visit the class. My mom tells me they are waiting for us to finish the playoffs so I can get there for a floor hockey challenge.
Both my brother and I have always strived to be the hardest working players on our respective teams. To be the hardest working player on my team, means working hard on and off the ice. I am extremely dedicated to my training regimen and I don’t make excuses to not work out. I want to improve my game as much as possible. To achieve this, I shoot pucks off ice and train every day. I also believe you play as you practice so I always strive for 100% effort every time I practice. I never take ice time for granted.
My parents always taught me that integrity means doing the right thing when no one is watching. I always try to make myself a better person by making good choices. I respect my coaches for how much integrity they have. I always ask myself what they would have done in certain situations to help guide my decisions. Respect is also a big part of having integrity. It is especially important to be respectful in the situation we are in as hockey players. We need to be respectful to many different people involved in the sport from billet parents, to coaches, referees and other teams. My hope is to always leave a positive impression with all the people that I have crossed paths with inside the hockey community.
I believe my perseverance came into play last year when I broke my hand twice during the season. One doctor had told me that it could be career ending. During the off season and rehab I drove myself extra hard so that my hand would not prevent me from continuing my hockey career. I have to thank my coach, Boris, for giving me a second chance. When I got traded to Camrose, I regained my passion for the game and made a pledge to myself that I would do everything I could help contribute to the Kodiaks’ success. I was so grateful for the opportunity they gave me and I wanted to give back in some way. I decided the best way to accomplish this was to work as hard as I could and to take in every piece of advice the coaches gave me.
For me, sportsmanship doesn’t just apply to my opposition. It also applies to my teammates and the community. I want to lead by example and be a good role model. I want fans to respect me for my sportsmanship on and off the ice. It is important to me that young hockey players look up to me for the right reasons. If I model good behavior on the ice, that might pass down to kids in minor hockey. It is also important to me to be an ambassador for the Kodiaks and sportsmanship plays a huge part in that. I want Camrose fans and the community to be proud of the Kodiaks so I try to be a positive member of the community. The training center has been a big part of my connection to the community. I really enjoy the opportunity to pass on some of my knowledge of hockey to the younger players.
Memorial awards are always bitter-sweet. You never take these awards for granted because you know you are honoring someone’s memory. Win or lose, I am proud to be nominated and I hope I can honor Stewy Stewart’s commitment to the game through my actions on and off the ice.