Gudmandson named SJHL MVP

For the second time in the past three seasons a North Star has been named the SJHL’s Most Valuable Player. And it would be tough to argue with this year’s selection. After joining the North Stars in mid-November Michael Gudmandson helped lead the team on a super charged run to the Kramer Division title as they swept past the Kindersley Klippers on the final weekend of the season.

The North Stars were starting to come out of their struggles a little when Gudmandson arrived but they took off when he grabbed the starters role. The Stars brought Gudmandson in as almost a roll of the dice as they were looking for a 20 year old veteran goalie. A young tandem of Darren Martin, who ended up having a heck of a rookie season, and Casey Parker, a great young man and player, wasn’t what the North Stars were looking for in net. So they brought Goody in to compete for the job and on that first weekend he took off with 2 wins and a shutout. He never looked back.

Gudmandson ended up with sparkling numbers. 20-3-0-1 in his 24 starts with a 1.74 goals against average. Gudmandson stopped 94.4% of the shots he faced. He was a huge part of the Stars going from a 4-12 start to Kramer Division champs and was also a big part in their first round series win over Estevan.

It was the year of the goalies in the SJHL with Ryland Pashovitz also being honoured as the SJHL’s top rookie and Kale Thomson named the top goalie after posting 8 shutouts. But it’s Gudmandson who had the biggest impact on his team as he stabilized the North Stars in goal as they posted one of the league’s best defensive records. To be fair the North Stars improved as the season progressed and they do have a great group of defenseman, plus two way forwards, playing in front of Gudmandson. But when it comes to the last line of defense it was Goody making all the key saves.

It’s a special story as Gudmandson bounced around a lot in his career. He made stops in the NAHL with Dawson Creek. The VIHJL with Oceanside. The BCHL with Nanaimo. The CCAA with Nait, after attending North Stars training camp, before finishing last season with the Humboldt Broncos. This season Goody was in the MJHL with Neepawa before rejoining the Stars. He was a self described “suitcase” before finding a home here in the Battlefords. To finally land in the right spot with the right team and to run with that opportunity, to show what a talented player he was all along, well that is all part of what made this season so special.

So now he has SJHL MVP honours to go with his Kramer Division MVP award and multiple goalie of the week awards.

A couple seasons ago it was North Battleford native Blake Tatchell taking home the MVP award. So in my three seasons of broadcasting North Stars hockey I’ve been lucky enough to witness two MVP seasons. Tatchell and the Stars fell in the North final that season. Here’s hoping Gudmandson can lead the Stars even further in this year’s playoff run.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The SJHL also announced some more awards yesterday on their website. Cam Blair was named the SJHL Player of the Week. During the past week in three games played Blair posted 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points. He led the Stars offensively in their 3 straight wins during the voting period. And with at least a point in all 5 games versus Estevan it was arguably Blair who was the Stars MVP in round 1 of the playoffs. He has done exactly what the North Stars were looking for when they traded very good players to get Blair from Flin Flon.

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