With the season now shifting to the second half in 2024, Head Coach-GM’s have been asked to talk about their Most Valuable and Most Improved Players up to this point in this week’s KIJHL Notebook. It proved to be a challenging task for some, so other players are included as honourable mentions.
Eddie Mountain Division
MVP: Tristan Weill – “Tristan has been dominant since our first game and a big reason was him coming into training camp in excellent shape,” said Derek Stuart. “He leads our team in goals, assists and points and is a very important part of our offence. He has speed, skill and is extremely strong, which makes him very hard to play against.”
MIP: Tyler Lindal – “Last season as a rookie, Tyler was mainly used in a fourth line role, where he began this season. Hard work and determination has made Tyler a fixture in our top-9 forwards. He is an outstanding penalty killer and his versatility enables him to play on any line in any role, while still being able to contribute.”
Columbia Valley Rockies
MVP: Nate Glenn – “He has shown excellent work ethic on and off the ice and great leadership for our young players,” said Tayler Sincennes.
MIP: Johnny Lozeman – “Lozeman is seeing improvement in his play from showing up and putting the work in. He is a very hard working defensive player that is slowly growing his offensive confidence.”
Creston Valley Thunder Cats
MVP: Luke Chakrabarti – “He has been in the top-five of KIJHL scoring throughout the 2023-24 campaign with 17 goals and 25 assists,” said Brad Tobin, of the KIJHL’s Most Valuable Player last season. “He’s been consistently producing and having another stellar year.”
MIP: Bobby Anselmo – “He has improved on his point totals from the previous season (10 points in 28 games – two points in 34 games last season with the Thunder Cats and Columbia Valley Rockies) and is starting to chip in on a regular basis. He’s also been our top penalty killing forward.”
MVP: Prezton Stewart – “He is a dynamic player who plays hard in all three zones and has been steady at contributing offensively,” said Chuck Wight.
MIP: Hayden Barr – “Barr has brought a more consistent overall game and is stronger in the faceoff circle and in his defensive zone play.”
Neil Murdoch Division
Beaver Valley Nitehawks
MVP: Oliver Clement – “Clement has elevated his play and leadership greatly while Kaleb Percival recovers from injury,” said Terry Jones. “Ollie impresses every day with his speed, quickness, and his joyful intensity in practice. Ollie is our team leader in points and creates lots of space with his ability to drive defenders wide and dart in and around the tough traffic areas.”
Honourable mention – Percival and Connor Stojan.
MIP: Nathan Simm – “Not only does he get better every day, he carries himself with the poise and leadership of a veteran player. He wins battles and races each and every shift, and comes to the rink with a confident, calm approach to being better. By year-end, we will be counting on Nathan to help lead our team in the playoffs.”
Honourable mention – Jake Geronazzo and Landan Uzeloc.
Grand Forks Border Bruins
MVP: Chad Bates – “Bates is dedicated on and off the ice and has scored big goals for us,” said David Hnatiuk. “Chad is always a physical factor with his big hits. He plays in all situations and is a hard-working power forward who keeps getting better.”
MIP: Carter Price – “Carter has found a new level of maturity. He has set a routine for himself by putting in the required work. Carter is a guy that others should follow and take notice of his dedication to his game and commitment to the team.”
MVP: Joshua Gamble: “He drives our team’s offence and is having a solid statistical season,” said Nicholas Headrick. “Josh also competes very hard in our D-zone and uses his quickness and hockey IQ to make plays in all three zones. He is very good on his edges and isn’t afraid to win battles in tough areas.”
MIP: Aiden MacNeill – “Aiden has taken a massive jump and is a huge contributor to our turnaround. His skating, long reach and ability to read the play has come a long way and plays big minutes against other teams top players. We expect and will need more of the same to continue what we’re building this season.”
MVP: Crae Dawson – “One of our leaders, Crae sets the tone on and off the ice. The extra workouts, always being first in line during practice, and the way he conducts himself in the community and games are what’s helping build this great culture and community reputation,” said Briar McNaney. “His value goes beyond the hockey rink.”
MIP: Kane Kennedy – “Kane came in the summer as raw talent and has started to add to his game and really impress. He responds to challenges we gave him and has grown a lot in a short time. I’m excited to see how he continues to grow.”
MVP: Andrew Tworkowski- “Andrew has done a great job keeping games close and giving us a chance to compete,” said Darin Schumacher. “We have given up more shots in every game than we have taken and Andrew makes a lot of great saves for our young team.”
MIP – Joey Epkey – “Since being moved from forward to defence, Joey has done a great job. He is logging big minutes and does a great job moving the puck quickly to his teammates. He has earned a lot of confidence since playing on the back end.”
Bill Ohlhausen Division
MVP: Lucas Sadownyk – “Sadownyk has been arguably the best defenceman in our league, not just within our club,” said Mark Readman. “He is one of the highest plus-minus players, averaging a ton of ice time playing against top competition. He continues to lead every single day by doing the little things right defensively and then also letting his skill and playmaking ability be a driver for our group.”
Honourable mention – Vinay Junek and Anmol Garcha.
MIP: Jackson Gush – “He’s the youngest player on the roster, but his growth has been evident on a daily basis since the beginning. He is a guy who is consistently getting better at playing on the right side of the puck and becoming more accustomed to the physical size difference. He’s getting more comfortable making plays and his speed and evasiveness to extend plays or get more involved.”
Honourable mention -Jonathan Ward and Nathan Scott.
North Okanagan Knights
MVP: Devin Jameson – “Jameson is a dynamic forward who is an offensive threat every shift,” said Liam McOnie.
Honourable mention – Colton Fleming, Ian George, Gage Parrell, Cash Anderson and Richard Burden.
MIP: Dane Dietz and Carter Will.
“Dane’s effort has been strong every day, practice or game, and he has been very focused and brings a positive attitude.”
“Carter’s offensive side has been strong since we acquired him in October, but his commitment to improving defensively is an area we are really happy with as he is becoming more of a two-way player.”
MVP: Hunter Arntsen – “He gives us the opportunity to compete each day. We always know that Hunter will give us a solid effort and compete until the final whistle,” said Ken Law. “If he played for a contender, his numbers would show as well as some of the best goaltenders in the league.”
MIP: Logan Messer – “Logan has stepped into the lineup and done everything asked of him. He
works hard in all zones and to develop his whole game. He has steadily moved his way up the lineup with good, all-around play and work ethic. He has great vision, and skates very well. This allows him to make the solid plays he is noted for.”
MVP: Jasper Tait
MIP: Tanner Sunderman
Doug Birks Division
MVP: Daniel Kroon – “He plays the game the right way and is being rewarded now on the stats sheet (31 points in 28 games),” said Nick Deschenes. “He has always been a positive factor in our season
Honourable mention – Alex Smith.
MIP: Owen Dewitt – “He has come in and has just got better and better, even with teams adjusting to make his life more difficult. He is still finding ways to be effective.
Honourable mention – Hayden Evans.
Head Coach Jiri Novak has a couple of players deserving of MVP recognition.
“For us it is important that all players are pulling the chain in the same direction and we play as a team,” said Novak.
MIP: “It’s the same with our most improved player. All our young players have made big progress and improved their game. Some players have had good numbers as Alexander Bronswyk and Jake Neufeld, but at the same time, some players have less points, but they are also very important for our team.”
MVP: Colton Phillips-Watts – “Colton is the backbone to our hockey team,” said Matt Kolle. “The importance to the sport is keeping the puck out of your net. We can count on Colton to have big games and be the backbone to our success.”
MIP: Jake Phillips-Watts – “He had a really slow start, then things just started clicking for him in November. He is pretty much scoring on a game-by-game basis (since Nov. 10 he has been held without a point in just four games.) We expected big things out of Jake this year.”
100 Mile House Wranglers
MVP: Ivan Tolsma – “He has provided solid goaltending,” said Dale Hladun.
Kaden Ernst – “He has given inspiring leadership.”
Ethan Davey – “He has been important with key scoring and game-breaking goals.”
Tyler Smoluk – “Impressive compete levels.”
MIP: Trent Thiessen and Nicholas Sloane on defence, Carter Boomer and Jackson Altwasser among forwards.
MVP: Kaleb Preymak – “He’s been very consistent in our team make up as a complete player and leader, who has also put up some numbers with 21 points in 26 games,” said Brad Fox. “We can see the group picking up on his work habits and commitment to the process we are working towards.”
Honourable mention – Brian Fraser.
MIP: Kieran Armitage – “Kieran has come in being a very well-rounded 200-foot player every day for us and has improved immensely.”