The SJHL named it’s league award winners late last night. The league’s Most Valuable Players award was given to the Stars forward Blake Tatchell.
First of all congratulations to Blake for winning the award. He was also the runner up for the league’s Player of the Year award which went to Jesse Ross of the Weyburn Red Wings. Both players were deserving of an award and I had a feeling they would split those two awards.
Tatchell finished second to Ross in both goals and points this past season. He also led his team by a wide margin as the Stars depth throughout the lineup meant that no other player was within 30 points of Tatchell’s totals. He also led the league with his 21 game point streak through the majority of the first 3 months of the season. Coach Hasselberg described Tatchell as a humble player who loves the game and plays honestly. I think that’s spot on. Tatchell also helps make the players around him better.
When I spoke with Tatch about the award he mentioned his teammates more than once and spoke of it being an individual award that you can’t win without great teammates. He also said he and his teammates will use the award as a boost heading into the playoffs. The confidence that comes with knowing you are an MVP shouldn’t be discounted.
I could write a lot more about Tatchell and the awards and perhaps I will after the season but Coach Hasselberg said it was an “honour having Blake on the team” and I think Blake has done himself, his family and his team very proud. I also think it is tremendous to see a player from the Battlefords win the MVP of the league while playing for his home town team. The team for whom he grew up hoping to play.
Woody Klassen was named runner-up for Defenseman of the Year in the SJHL. Carson Grolla of the Notre Dame Hounds picked up the award. No offense to Grolla who is a great D man who plays a ton of minutes and helps his team in many ways. But I think Woody Klassen is the best D man in the league. He was good enough to play in the ECHL and will most likely play there next season. If he had been around the whole season I believe he would have won the award.
Coach Hasselberg was named runner-up for Coach of the Year honours and I believe that he was deserving of the award. But so was Doug Johnson and I don’t think you can argue with either man winning. Doug has done a fantastic job with Nipawin and has always been a very approachable and gracious coach to speak with. He’s made my job easier in my dealings with him which is a very small aspect of his job but he does it very well. He also coaches well and made some great moves to improve his team.
So congratulations to all of the Stars award winners on their terrific seasons. Check out the full list of winners here.
I should also make note that Stars playoff tickets are on sale tomorrow night at the Civic Center. They are a dollar cheaper for season tickets holders if you buy them in advance.
AND the North Stars greatest iFan contest is back. Check out more on that at http://www.northstars.ca