Midget players say farewells, receive accolades at WLMHA awards banquet

The banquet was also a chance to reflect on their last season in minor hockey

The careers and achievements of the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association’s midget division players were recognized last week after another season of hockey is officially in the record books.

For many of the division’s players, the banquet was also a chance to reflect on their last season in minor hockey. Lisa Hutchinson, the midget house division co-ordinator, said it was an emotional time for many, including herself, as her son is also in his final season with the WLMHA.

“I believe that the midget division is the heart and soul of the association,” Hutchinson wrote in her speech.

“The third-year players are here solely for the enjoyment of the game and socializing with friends. They are who the little guys look up to and imagine themselves being one day.

“We hope and encourage our midgets, particularly the third years, to show off their hard work, dedication, learned skills and talents, good sportsmanship, self control, ability to bond and support their teammates, their ability to overcome adversity, their respect for their coaches, the officials and opponents and, above all, their pure love of the game.

“These are the characteristics we want the young players to see and strive to mimic.”

She added she hopes the third-year players can reflect fondly upon their time playing minor hockey, and remember the people who travelled along the same path.

“To all our third-year players, I want to thank you for the time you have put into WLMHA and wish you all the very best of luck in all your future endeavors.”

Picking up awards in the WLMHA midget division were the following players:

• Aidan Herrling – midget most sportsmanlike

• Logan Hutchinson – Darryl Ford Memorial Award for most inspirational midget player

• Brady Smid – Russell Gibson Memorial Award for a player who displays versatility, dedication, skills, perseverance and leadership

• Gabrielle Pierce – Danielle Helmer Memorial Award for most inspirational female

• Cameron Prest – Kevin Howell Memorial Award for sportsman of the year

• Jacob Jackson – midget most valuable player

• Jared Brown – midget most improved player

Coaches and volunteers were also recognized during the banquet for their commitments to the WLMHA.

Coaches were presented with a WLMHA toque, while coaches who were part of the third-year group and not likely returning received a WLMHA jacket with their name and years of service.

Those coaches included Earl Call (six years), Jonathan Jackson (seven years), Jason Drodge (13 years) and Rick Benedet (12 years).

“Without our volunteers, we would never be to able to run such a large operation,” Hutchinson said. “From the team moms to timekeepers and from the coaches to the person who picks up pizza, we all need to do our part to make things work. I believe that volunteers should put their time in for the benefit of all kids, not just their own.”

For the coaches, Hutchinson thanked them for all their time either on the ice, on the bench or in the dressing rooms.

“They all have full-time jobs, families and other parts of their lives that fill up much of their days or weekends,” she said.

“They then spend hours on the bench or on the ice in between these other parts of their lives with their teams during the week, the weekend and then out of town — sometimes when their own children aren’t even there or if they don’t have their own yet.”

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Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association midget division most valuable player Jacob Jackson poses for a photo with super fan Isadore Kalelest. Isadore attends and watches many games throughout the year, including plenty his own family members aren’t even involved in.

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