The 9th Annual HEAT Awards Banquet was held Sunday, February 23rd at the Adams Lake Conference Centre. Close to 200 hockey lovers filled the room to enjoy a sumptuous roast beef dinner put together by a team of volunteers. Most of those hardworking souls have done that unenviable task since the banquet’s inception.
HEAT President Darryl Adamson introduced the stars of the evening, the players during the opening “Jersey Hanging”. With full shields and equipment on it is hard to know what the dapper coiffed lads look like off the ice. The introduction provided ample opportunity for recognition as they toured the room. Dinner and desert followed, with the majority of treats provided by the artistic Colleen Patterson.
Adamson then presented the Rhonda Kenoras Volunteer of the Year Award, ably assisted by Rhonda’s mom Doreen and her daughter Tia. The late Rhonda was a beloved member of the HEAT family and the award was renamed in her honour. The crowd was surprised when for the first time there were two recipients, both from the same family. Sue Inkster a long time dedicated volunteer of a vast number of duties and tasks which includes Board Director, merchandise, season ticket sales, bookkeeping, concession and many other things was honoured. As well Sue’s son Cody Inkster was honoured as the co-winner through his hockey operations role as an Assistant Coach to Brad Fox. The married father of a young son, with support from his wife Katie has provided a great deal of valuable time in helping to put a winning product on the ice. Congratulations to Sue and Cody!
The President then introduced towering guest speaker Greg Stewart, a world class Paralympic shot putter to the stage. Greg kept the crowd enraptured with his trials and tribulations of growing up. Through the good and bad and being “different”, he got the point through that we are all different and it takes strength and perseverance to reach our goals. The message presented was well received as the HEAT prepare for the fast approaching playoffs.
The players were all provided with a moment in the limelight as Team Photographer Andrea Stelter provided a video collage of action shots of each player from the Regular season. Head Coach Brad Fox and his Assistants Cody Inkster and Kolten Moore then took the stage to present 11 awards and two very memorable special presentations. The awards and recipients follow:
Top Scholastic – Marino Bordin
Top Scorer – Breckin Erichuk
Game Star – Colton Nikiforuk and Vince Benedetto
Most Improved – Corson Nordick
Rookie of the Year – Trevor Kennedy
Most Dedicated – The TEAM
Most Sportsmanlike – Matthew Poole
Unsung Hero – Hayden Wiebe and Dylan Barton
Warrior of the Year – Evan Hughes, Brandon Gremaud and Rhys Lepine
Fan Favourite – Gavin Mattey
Top Defenceman – Cam Watson and Caleb Biensch
Most Valuable – Vince Benedetto and Cam Watson
In many of the awards there were more then one recipient. Top Scholastic Player was determined by Chase Secondary on the basis of academic standing, with Fan Favourite being voted on by the fans.
The first Special Presentation was the traditional recognition of the junior hockey graduating 20 year old players. In 2019-20 there were five players recognized; Cam Watson, Evan Hughes, Colton Nikiforuk, Caleb Biensch and Vince Benedetto. They each received framed action shots noting the year’s they played for the HEAT in the KIJHL, a “Heat” travel bag with embroidered name and number as well as a crested black golf shirt.
The most emotional moment of the evening was when Brad Fox presented 19 year old Brett Alexander with the same recognition package. Brett had his hockey career with the HEAT cut short this season due to injury. Prior to retirement he provided valuable leadership, tenacity and class.
The 24 players have provided a display of skill and entertainment all season long. They aren’t finished yet as the playoffs start this coming weekend and 16 teams are vying for the “Teck Cup” symbolic of being KIJHL Champions.
In closing, the entire HEAT Organization thank the player’s families, the billet homes, volunteers, fans, sponsors and donors for providing our community of Chase and surrounding area the means to have a Junior Hockey Team. It is “Our Time”.