Steinbach Piston’s outstanding season has carried over off the ice with three members of the club winning major MJHL awards.
Head coach Paul Dyck won his second consecutive coach of the year award, named winner of the Muzz McPherson” Award. Meanwhile, Pistons’ Drew Worrad and Darby Gula won the Hockey Ability – Frank McKinnon Memorial Trophy and Top Defenceman awards, respectively.
“Every player should be commended for their outstanding performance over the regular season,” said Davis. “Coaches of the league vote and make the selections. These selections are extremely difficult to make. The talent level our league is reflective in how difficult it was to select these major awards.”
Steve “Boomer” Hawrysh MVP Award
Dexter Kuczek, Winnipeg Blues
Kuczek, 20, hails from Winnipeg and currently sits second in the MJHL scoring race with 85 points (33-52) in 55 games. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Kuczek was recently named the RBC Player of the Month for January, in addition to twice winning the Recycle Everywhere MJHL Player of the Week honour.
Rookie of the Year – Vince Leah Trophy
Justin Lee, Virden Oil Capitals
Lee, 17, hails from Waskada, Mb., and has adjusted quickly to the quick pace of Junior A hockey. He recently committed to University of Denver and was named the IBAM Rookie of the Month in November. He was also invited to the Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge tournament. He currently has 35 points (7-28) in 55 games.
Hockey Ability – Frank McKinnon Memorial Trophy
Drew Worrad, Steinbach Pistons
Worrad, 20, hails from Birr, Ont. He recently committed to Western Michigan University Mustangs, joining Piston teammate Riese Gaber. Mustangs are coached by former NHL head coach and Manitoba native Andy Murray, who was once an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets 1.0.
Worrad, who was acquired in the off season from Ontario, has 75 points (26-49) in 47 games, while accumulating only 14 PIM.
Troy Martyniuk, Winkler Flyers
Martyniuk, 20, played his minor hockey in Winnipeg. He currently leads all MJHL goaltenders with wins (28) and minutes played (2,738). He’s also considered the back bone of the Flyers, helping guide the club to its 37th straight playoff appearance.
In November he was named the MGEU-MJHL goaltender of the month.
Top Defenceman – Brian Kozak Trophy
Darby Gula, Steinbach Pistons
Gula, 20, calls Steinbach home and has thrilled his many fans with his outstanding play. He currently leads all MJHL defenceman in scoring with 14 goals and 61 points in 54 games. He’s also proven dangerous on the powerplay, reflected in 19 assists with the man advantage.
Gula, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, recently committed to Bemidji State.
Coach of the Year – Portage Terriers Muzz McPherson Award
Paul Dyck, Steinbach Pistons.
Currently, the Pistons have only eight losses this season and have been nationally ranked No. 1 several times by the CJHL. Dyck, a former draft of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was head coach when the Pistons won the MJHL in 2013. Under Dyck’s tutelage, the Pistons have graduated a number of players to both NCAA and CIS hockey programs. He won this same award last year.
1st All Star Team
Goal Matthew Thiessen Steinbach Pistons
Defence Darby Gula Steinbach Pistons
Defence Mackenzie Dwyer Portage Terriers
Forward Dexter Kuczek Winnipeg Blues
Forward Drew Worrad Steinbach Pistons
Forward Brad Schoonbaert Steinbach Pistons
2nd All Star Team
Goal Troy Martyniuk Winkler Flyers
Defence Brendan Bartlett Winnipeg Blues
Defence Mitch Dyck Winkler Flyers
Forward Chase Brakel Portage Terriers
Forward Jeremey Leipsic Portage Terriers
Forward Tyler Kirkup Virden Oil Capitals
Rookie All Star Team
Goal Matthew Thiessen Steinbach Pistons
Defence Justin Lee Virden Oil Capitals
Defence Michael Ladyman Winnipeg Blues
Forward Austin Heidemann Steinbach Pistons
Forward Jaymes Knee Dauphin Kings
Forward Matthew Osadick Swan Valley Stampeders
Each all-star winner will receive their award at their home rink over the next two weeks. The MJHL’s top scorer, who will be decided upon season’s end, will receive the Mike Ridley Trophy, named after the prolific goal scorer who starred with the St. Boniface Saints and starred in the NHL.