By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
It’s been six years since Portage Terriers’ star forward Eric DeLong was named the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) Player of the Year.
Tristan Keck is hoping to snap the streak. The Winkler Flyers’ classy veteran is still pinching himself after recently being named the MJHL’s nominee for the Player of the Year award.
“It’s pretty big – I honestly didn’t expect it,” said Keck, who hails from Morris. “There are a lot of great guys in the league, and to be nominated from that group is a pretty big honour.”
Keck’s Flyers just lost a tough six-game series to the Virden Oil Capitals in the quarter-finals of the MJHL playoffs. And while he would rather still be playing, Keck admits being recognized for this award helps take away some of the sting of being eliminated.
“It’s great to get personal success but you just want to win a championship,” he said. “Winning this helps a little bit, but ultimately you want to win that championship more than anything.”
Keck did pretty much all in his power to help the Flyers this season. His 43 goals were tops in the league, helping him to be named the league’s most outstanding player. Some of his other major awards from his three years of junior include being named a first-team all star this year, twice being named the team MVP in Winkler, and being named the CJHL and the MJHL rookie of the year.
MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis had high praise for the talented forward, who still has one year of junior eligibility remaining.
“Tristan is a terrific ambassador for the MJHL,” said Davis. “He’s an outstanding nominee.”
Meanwhile, Keck’s goal is to play college hockey. “I want to play somewhere in the United States,” said Keck. “I’d like to take Architecture.”
Keck added his family was excited when they learned of this latest honour. “It’s rewarding for them to see all that hard work pay off,” he said.
Previous nominees for this award include Braeden Ostepchuk of the Selkirk Steelers, Guillaume Naud of the Dauphin Kings, and Jayson Argue of the Swan Valley Stampeders, among others.
Previous winners of this national award include a pair of former Portage Terriers – Eric Delong and Junior Lessard.
The 2015 CJHL Player of the Year Award will be presented during the festivities at this year’s RBC Cup, which takes place in Portage la Prairie May 9-17.