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Sundre Minor Hockey 2023-24 season concludes with awards

Sundre Minor Hockey Association recently hosted annual awards night for 2023-24 season at the Eagle Hill Community Centre
Sundre U13 Huskies player Brody Johnson was recently named this year’s recipient of the Troy Groenewegen Memorial Award, which was presented on April 3 by Paul and Jackee Groenewegen during the Sundre Minor Hockey Association’s annual awards night that was hosted at the Eagle Hill Community Centre. The award is presented to the U13 player deemed by coaching staff to have demonstrated “superior sportsmanship, fair play, and respect for others on and off the ice.” Photo courtesy of Sundre Minor Hockey Association

SUNDRE – The president of the Sundre Minor Hockey Association said the past season for him was a beneficial learning experience that convinced him the organization is skating in the right direction.

“I learned a lot this year just being a first-time president, and I think that we have a good understanding of where we need to move,” said Austin Fyten, president of the Sundre Minor Hockey Association.

“I like the direction that the association is heading,” said Fyten, who is also the coach of the Sundre U15 Huskies.

“Overall, I think we’re in a good spot … I’m really pleased with how the season went.”

The association hosted its annual awards night on Wednesday, April 3 at the Eagle Hill Community Centre to celebrate the successes of the 2023-24 season with Dallas Rosevear serving as the evening’s MC.

“Everything was really good. There was a great turnout,” said Fyten. “The hall was full.”

Although Fyten completed the first year of his first-ever term as president, he spoke during the awards night as the coach of the Sundre U15 Huskies, who finished their season in second place after just narrowly being defeated by Hanna for their division’s banner.

From the U11s on up, two of the teams brought back banners with the other two battling through to reach the banner finals, he said.

“I was just really proud of how the coaches responded to anything that came up over the year, and just the time and effort they put in to the kids,” he said.

The association endeavoured to place a greater emphasis on player development this season including some power skating sessions as well as drills to further refine for example puck-handling skills, said the former pro hockey player whose career playing left wing included a decade in the American Hockey League.

“I kind of took ownership of the player development myself,” said the 32-year-old.

“I played 10 years of pro hockey; probably 300 games in the AHL and two years in Europe. So I didn’t really see a need to bring any outside help in this year,” he said, expressing a desire to impart his knowledge with the players.

Tapping into his substantial repertoire of experience on the ice just seemed to make sense, he said.

But the association’s decision to focus more on player development also stemmed from the membership’s feedback, he said.

“When I took over … it was one thing that was the most requested from parents that they wanted to see happen, was more player development,” he said, adding he took the initiative favouring a more in-house approach that wasn’t cost prohibitive.

“I just kind of took over that role,” he said, adding the results spoke for themselves.

“I think it showed,” he said, adding his effort was substantially facilitated courtesy of each team boasting “some really good coaches. They’re really putting in a good effort and want to help these kids develop. So I think that really showed through the success of each team.”

Already looking ahead to the next season, Fyten said he has every intention of attempting to repeat the past year’s success.

“Definitely,” he said. “I’m going to try to continue to do it and move forward.”

And if along the way the association should identify areas that might benefit from something different or a new direction, “we can add to that as well,” he said.

Sundre Minor Hockey Association 2023-24 season awards

U9 - Black
Most Valuable Player - Jack Bodell
Most Improved Player - Chase Blackhurst

U9 - White
Most Valuable Player - Grady Fenrich
Rookie of the Year - Ronan Gillan
Most Sportsmanlike - Huckleberry Hus
Teammate of the Year - Cruz Cummings

Most Valuable Player - Ryder Chapman
Most Improved Player - Coulter Lenny
Best Defensman - Clay Bodell
Most Sportsmanlike - Kenton Bird

Most Valuable Player - Haidyn Mahan
Rocket Richard (Top Scorer) - Sawyer Suitor
Most Improved Player - Jack Butters
Ironman - River Holmes
Norris (Best Defensman) - Brody Weatherbee
Troy Groenewegen Award - Brody Johnson

Most Valuable Player - Brady Smith
Most Improved Player - Quinn Beecraft-Schaafsma
Scott Jackson Memorial Award - Rhys Anderson

Most Valuable Player - Byron Burwell
Most Improved Player - Payton Martyn
Most Sportsmanlike - Reuben Gordon
Kenneth Miller Memorial Award - Doel Martyn

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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