March 4, 2015
A homegrown product of Swan River, Cody Ellingson grew up watching the Swan Valley Stampeders and knows just how important the team is to the town and surrounding area.
As an active volunteer in his community, the Swan Valley Stampeder forward has been named the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for February.
Ellingson, 18, understands the importance of giving back to the community as he has been active in community events such as Swan Valley Minor Hockey Day, the Tiger Fire Special Olympics Game, Swan Valley Youth Activity Evenings and is a volunteer minor hockey coach.
“Cody exemplifies the influence junior hockey players can have in their community and the positives they bring to the community,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Ellingson.
“Together with his community work and playing Junior ‘A’ hockey, he attends Swan Valley Regional Secondary School and is completing grade 12 while working around a demanding hockey schedule.”
An active volunteer in his community, Jake Stilwell of the Winnipeg Blues has been named the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for January.
Stilwell, 20, was honoured for his off-ice volunteerism in promoting the game of hockey. He is a volunteer at Winnipeg’s Harrow Elementary School and reads to students from Nursery through grade-six.
Stilwell, who hails from Jamestown, ND., also volunteers his time with the school’s Hockey Discovery Days program.
“Through this program, Jake works mentoring students who have never had an opportunity to play hockey before,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Stilwell.
“He has a great rapport with the students and is an excellent role model. He provides mentorship and academic support as a ‘buddy’ to two EAL students with unique needs.”
Stilwell also volunteered for Harrow School’s Culture Day, where student diversity was celebrated.
“Jake epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.”
Connor Martin of the Steinbach Pistons has been named the Manitoba Pork-MJHL Peak Performer of the Month of December.
A newcomer to Steinbach, the affable Martin has quickly immersed himself into the community. The rookie defenceman attends local schools several mornings a week assisting teachers and working with students.
“Connor is also an assistant coach for his billet family’s sons minor hockey team,” Pistons’ GM/Head Coach Paul Dyck says of Martin, who hails from Owatonna, MN. “In addition, he has volunteered with the Helping Hands: Drive Away Hunger campaign.
“As a role model in the community, Connor understands and respects the opportunity to make a difference with area youth.”
The MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer award recognizes the volunteerism of an MJHL player who is making a difference in their community.
“Connor epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said MHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.”
Brian MacKenzie of the Selkirk Steelers has been named the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month of November.
MacKenzie, who hails from Winnipeg, has made the commitment to raise cancer awareness among both his teammates and the community of Selkirk. Recently, the MJHL family was saddened to hear the news that former player Cole Hamblin had lost his battle against cancer.
MacKenzie, a former teammate and friend of Cole, decided he was going to be a difference maker ─ starting with the popular “Movember” movement of cancer awareness.
“MacKenzie, and his Steelers teammates participated in raising funds through a Movember Brunch hosted by Roxi’s on the Red Uptown Café and On the Rocks Bar and Night Club in the Selkirk Motor Hotel,” said Steeler’s GM Dave Obirek. “Through this event, and further donations from players, staff and fans, a total of $1,100 was raised in support of Movember Canada and men’s health.”
MacKenzie, who is the Steelers’ captain, was also instrumental in having the Steelers’ don ‘CH 13’ decals on their helmets ─ in honour of Cole, who wore number 13 with the Steelers.
“Brian took his captaincy to the next level,” said Obirek. “Having suffered the loss of a friend and former teammate, he took it upon himself to bring awareness to ‘Movember’ and men’s health. We are all very proud of him.”
“Brian epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said MHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.”
Daylon Creasy of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been named the Manitoba Pork – MJHL Peak Performer of the Month for October.
Creasy, 18, has been involved in a variety of community activities this season, including the Terry Fox Run, Taylor School BBQ and Swan Valley Minor Hockey Breakfast Club.
“Daylon’s involvement in his community is all encompassing,” said MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “He’s has become involved with Communities that Care, Haunted House project for Spooktober fest.
“In addition, Daylon is participating in the Swan River ‘Chop the Top’ for cancer awareness where he may have to endure a buzz-cut at center ice during a game in November.”
Creasy, who hails from Carberry, is also passing on his hockey expertise to young players, serving as a guest coach with Swan Valley Pee Wee teams.
“Daylon epitomizes the community involvement of the MJHL,” said Davis. “This award couldn’t have gone to a more worthy recipient.”
Zach Whitecloud of the Virden Oil Capitals is committed to making a difference in his community. And it’s that quality which earned the rookie defenceman the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for September.
Whitecloud, 18, excels both on the ice and in the community. He volunteers his time with the Virden Minor Hockey school and assisted during local peewee tryouts.
“While Zach is a newcomer to the community of Virden, that didn’t stop him from getting involved quickly,” MJHL Kim Davis said of Whitecloud’s contributions.
“ Zach, along with his teammates, recently participated in the Virden Junior High Terry Fox Run/Skate. Zach will also be speaking in local schools as part of WE Day Celebrations. He’s doing all of this community work while dealing with the pressure of being a rookie in the MJHL.”
Whitecloud, who hails from Brandon, plans to speak to the WE Day audience about his path to the Oil Capitals, and his experience playing for Team Manitoba at the North American Indigenous Games in Montreal.
“Zach epitomizes what the MJHL is all about: community involvement, making a difference and showcasing his hockey talents,” said Davis. “Congratulations on behalf of the Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL.”
The Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for March is Steinbach Pistons goaltender Zach Rakochy.
Zach spent over 60 hours volunteering in Steinbach schools assisting teachers, spending time with students, and was also involved in minor hockey during the month of March. “Zach has made a tremendous impact with youth in Steinbach and has set the bar extremely high when it comes to giving back to the community,” said Pistons Head Coach & GM, Paul Dyck. “I am often approached by parents with a son or daughter in one of the schools where Zach volunteers and they always comment on the positive influence he has been on their child. Zach understands the opportunity he has as a Junior hockey player to make a difference in the lives of people and he selflessly gives his time.”
Congratulations Zach as this month’s Manitoba Pork Peak Performer!
For his tireless community service efforts, Clay Van Diest of the Portage Terriers has been Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for the Month of February.
Van Diest, 20, is a firm believer in giving back to his community and the fans of the Terriers.
“Clay is active in the community and has participated in the Terry Fox Run, volunteered for Manitoba Heart and Stroke Association, United Way, Cancer Care Manitoba and the Portage Jingle Bell Breakfast,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Van Diest’s selection.
“Clay truly understands what it means to give back to the community. Clay has also volunteered to read at schools in surrounding communities such as Austin, Treherne and MacGregor, as well as nearby Hutterite communities and schools in Portage la Prairie.”
Van Diest, who patrols the blueline for the Terriers, hails from Helena, Mt. His community efforts have not gone unnoticed by his teammates.
“Clay sets a very good example for his younger teammates as well as for all youth in the community,” said Davis
“Clay is a true ambassador of the Terriers and the MJHL. He’s a worthy winner of this award. The MJHL and Manitoba Pork Council congratulate Clay on his award.”
Cody Nelson of the Virden Oil Capitals has been Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for the Month of January.
The 20-year-old forward has been recognized for his outstanding leadership skills both on and off the ice.
“Cody volunteered as an instructor at the Southwest Peewee Development Camp, sharing his passion and knowledge of hockey with the young players,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Nelson’s selection.
“The Camp included two speaking sessions where Cody addressed the players and their parents about his work ethic and daily routine and what it took to become a Junior ‘A’ hockey player.”
Nelson, who hails from Brandon, has demonstrated strong public speaking skills and a willingness to share his personal experiences with others.
“Recently, Cody spoke in front of the entire Virden Collegiate student body at their WE Day event and is a tremendous ambassador for the Oil Capitals,” said Davis.
Nelson was a Peak Performer on the ice as well, recording six points (3-3) in the month of January.
“Cody is a true ambassador of the Oil Capitals and the MJHL,” said Davis. “He a worthy winner of this award. The MJHL and Manitoba Pork Council congratulate Cody Nelson on his award.”
The Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for December is 18 year old forward Kamerin Nault of the Winnipeg Blues. Kam is in his second year with Blues and has been active in giving back to the community. Kam participated in a Kal-Tire-MJHL BBQ helping to promote the MJHL and the Blues. Kam has volunteered his time coaching with the AA Titans (northwest) girls hockey team and participates with Seven Oaks Middle School helping out students in their Physical Education program in the afternoon and on-ice in the mornings.
Riley Hillis of the Neepawa Natives is full of energy both at the hockey rink and within the community. And it’s that quality which earned the talented forward the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for November.
Hillis, 18, volunteers his time at an early morning hockey clinic helping young players work on their skills before school. The Winnipegger is also enjoying a strong season, reflected in 14 points (10-4) after 27 games.
“Riley also volunteered at local schools and with the Salvation Army in support of their annual food donation drive for the food bank,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of the selection.
“Riley is a good example of community volunteerism at its best. He’s combining a very busy hockey schedule with helping others in Neepawa.”
The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Hillis has made to his community.
For his outstanding volunteerism in the community, Max Provencher of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been awarded the MJHL Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for October.
Provencher, 20, hails from Montreal and is fully bilingual ─ a language he’s putting to good use in Swan River and area.
“Max is a volunteer French tutor for Swan River and area students,” Commissioner Kim Davis said of Provencher’s selection. “He also volunteers his time at the local Animal Protection Agency and has supported the Swan Valley Communities That Care (SVCTC) Youth Initiative.”
Provencher, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward, has also enjoyed a strong season to date, reflected in 13 goals and 22 points for the Stamps, who sit fourth in the Sher-Wood Division.
The Manitoba Pork Council and the MJHL congratulate Max on his outstanding achievements in the community and on the ice.
Adam Vander Linden of the Winkler Flyers believes in making a difference in his community. And it’s that quality which earned the rookie goaltender the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for September.
Vander Linden, 18, has been honoured with this award for his unconditional commitment to his community and unselfish volunteerism.
“Ty is a newcomer to the community of Winker, but that didn’t stop him from getting involved quickly,” MJHL Kim Davis said of Vander Linden’s contributions.
“He is contributing to the community by volunteering in the Canadian Tire ‘I Love to Skate’ program which provides skates and encouragement to new immigrant children who have never skated on ice before. This year in Winkler, 25 kids are learning to skate as a result of the efforts of Canadian Tire and people like Adam.”
“He did all of this community work while preparing for several Manitoba Junior Hockey League games and all the while moving to his new town,” Davis said of Vander Linden, who hails from Winnipeg.
Vander Linden and some of his teammates also volunteered with the Winkler Horticultural Club who had the task of removing flower pots from various locations in the city to prepare for the upcoming winter season.
On the ice, Vander Linden has also contributed over his first two games, reflected in stopping 72 of the 76 shots he faced for an outstanding .947 save percentage and a 2.0 goals against average.
The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Vander Linden has made to his community.
Jordan Neduzak of the Swan Valley Stampeders has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for March.
Neduzak, 20, has demonstrated a tireless work ethic both on and off the ice. Throughout the season, Neduzak has been a strong ambassador for his hockey club. He mentored young minor hockey players during on-ice practice sessions and also visited local schools in Swan River to read to students and be a positive role model.
A native of Morden, Neduzak became a tireless volunteer while a member of the Winkler Flyers. He continued his volunteerism this season with his new team and community.
“It’s this type of selfless volunteerism which embodies the spirit of our league,” said MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “While moving to a new community, Jordan was determined to give back to his adopted community.”
“Jordan is a fantastic ambassador for both the Stampeders and our league,” said Davis.
Justin McDonald of the OCN Blizzard has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer for February.
McDonald, 20, has demonstrated a tireless work ethic both on and off the ice. The Blizzard goaltender has been a tremendous ambassador for the organization, volunteering at various community events such as reading to youths at local library nights, in addition to signing autographs at school pancake breakfasts.
“Justin has been very steady throughout the year and has been a huge part of the regular season success,” said Blizzard Head Coach Clay DeBray. “Justin strives everyday to be the best that he can be on the ice and especially off the ice. He comes from a great family and being raised on a farm, he learned that hard work will make you a better person in life and in sports.”
McDonald was raised on a farm near Turtleford, Sk., which is located near North Battleford. A strong believer in giving back to his community, McDonald also tutored young goaltenders in the minor hockey system. A highlite for him this season was attending a number of events staged at the iconic Trappers Festival in The Pas.
“Justin is a fantastic ambassador for both the Blizzard and our league,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of McDonald’s selection.
Kyle Bodnaruk of the Winnipeg Blues has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for January.
Bodnaruk, 20, believes strongly in making a difference in his community. The Blues’ captain recently organized an event at Siloam Mission, where his teammates served food to patrons, assisted with laundry duties and organized much-needed clothes for pick-up.
Bodnaruk’s community involvement is far-reaching. He’s also befriended two autistic young men and on a regular basis takes them to lunch or a Blues’ game/practice.
“Kyle and his teammates felt good about helping the community and realized the good fortune they have in their lives compared to others,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Bodnaruk’s selection.
“Good works like these make solid contributions to the community at large. Manitoba Pork and the MJHL are proud of the efforts of Kyle Bodnaruk.”
Zach Rakochy of the Steinbach Pistons has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for December.
Rakochy was involved significantly in local fund raising with a focus on charities that support men’s mental health. After a recent home game, Zach and teammate Kyle Rous shaved their heads publicly in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Prostate Cancer Awareness, respectively.
Between the two players, they raised about $2,000 for the local charities.
The hair-cutting project started growing after Rakochy was deeply impacted when a former hockey teammate took his own life.
“We had played junior together. He was a good buddy of mine,” said the Pistons’ goaltender, who hails from Canora, Sk. “He suffered from depression. When he took his life it really hit me hard. I wanted to make a difference after that.
“When I was getting my hair cut I was thinking about him. It was very emotion for me. It really felt unreal knowing I was helping and making a difference.”
Rakochy, 19, has also been actively involved in minor hockey and has worked one on one with several minor hockey goalies to develop their skills. In December he also packed food hampers that were distributed to needy families. In addition to all these activities he also made four school appearances and spoke to students at local schools.
“The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the citizenship displayed by Zach,” said MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis.
Bryce Lipinski of the Portage Terriers has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for November.
Lipinski, 19, is not only a hard-worker on the ice, but is also a tireless volunteer away from the rink.
“Bryce has volunteered in the community with various events including the Terry Fox Run, United Way, as well as assisting his teammates at a fund raiser for the Terriers’ former home, the Centennial Arena,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said of Lipinski’s selection of Manitoba Pork Peak Performer.
“Bryce understands the benefits for kids to stay active with sports and the importance in keeping the old arena in operation in Portage. He leads by example and is a very good role model for his younger teammates and youth in the community.”
Lipinski, who was acquired in the off-season from the North Bay Trappers, plays alongside his twin brother Lyndon. Bryce has nine goals and 14 points in 23 games for the Terriers, who sit third in the Addison Division with 13 wins and 29 points.
“The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the citizenship displayed by great young men like Bryce Lipinski of the Portage Terriers,” said Davis.
Jeff Archibald of the Dauphin Kings is hands-on when it comes to making a difference in his community. And it’s that quality which earned the veteran forward the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for October.
Two nights per week Archibald spends quality time with Jonathan Foster, the special needs trainer for the Kings. As a result of this one-on-one bonding, both have become good companions.
“Jeff’s contributions don’t stop at the rink,” Kings’ GM/Head Coach Marlin Murray says of Archibald. “During the month Jeff played road hockey on several occasions with local school children, as well as teaching hockey skills with the Timbits minor hockey program.”
Archibald, a Kings’ assistant captain, is having a good season thus far, reflected in 12 points (5-7) after 12 games. He and his King teammates also recently put smiles on the faces of many a youngster in Dauphin.
“Jeff and some of his teammates dressed up and passed out candy to local children on behalf of the hockey club,” said Murray.
The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Jeff Archibald has made to his community.
Even though he is new to the Town of Virden, Grade 11 student Ty Edmonds has made a huge community contribution. 16 year old goaltender, Ty Edmonds of the Virden Oil Capitals has been named the Manitoba Pork Peak Performer of the Month for September.
For two full weeks in September Ty has worked on the ice with goaltenders in the Virden Minor Hockey School. He did all of this community work while preparing for several Manitoba Junior Hockey League games and all the while moving from Winnipeg to a new town and new high school.
The MJHL and Manitoba Pork are proud of the contribution Ty Edmonds has made to his community.