Kootenay recognizes players with team awards

Sam Reinhart and Joey Leach pick up a pair of awards in pre-game ceremony on Friday evening.

Kootenay Ice captain Joey Leach receives the Rod Hunter Ltd. Players Award from Geoff Davidson

Kootenay Ice captain Joey Leach receives the Rod Hunter Ltd. Players Award from Geoff Davidson

Sam Reinhart made it a repeat as he picked up the Kootenay Ice Fan Club Player of the Year award for the second time in his budding two-year career in the WHL as the team handed out awards on Friday night before their game against the Hitmen.

Reinhart also got the nod for the Apollo Ristorante Player of the Year award, while captain Joey Leach picked up a pair of awards—the Rod Hunter Ltd. Players Award and the Ron Collision/Dixon Service Centre Top Defenceman award.

Reinhart ended the season with a total of 84 points with 35 goals and 49 assists—surpassing his older brother Max’s career high goal total at 34—when he scored the game winning goal on Saturday against the Hitmen in Calgary.

Reinhart is quick to shrug off his individual success and credits the entire team for the way they battled into a playoff spot in the second half of the season.

“We played really well in the second half to get into playoffs and it hasn’t just been me, it’s been the whole team that has stepped up,” Reinhart said.

Reinhart accumulated a lot of his assists by setting up linemate Jaedon Descheneau, who got the nod for the BDO Dunwoody Most Underrated Player. Descheneau, who collected 14 points last year, ended the current campaign with 30 goals and 48 assists.

“When he [head coach Ryan McGill] put us together, for the second half, things clicked right away, and it’s been a lot of fun playing with him,” Reinhart said.

Mackenzie Skapski’s seven shutouts over the season and performance between the pipes earned him the Skyway Distributors Most Improved Player, while overage forward Brock Montgomery picked up the East Kootenay Community Credit Union Community Relations Award.

Luke Philp, who got in 17 games with the Ice last year while being called up from the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles, was given the Alpine Toyota Rookie of the Year.

Philp finished the season fourth in team scoring with 20 goals and 24 assists.

“It’s been great,” said Philp. “Great group of guys on the team. We had a a rough start, but really came together in the second half of the season and it shows. We’re into the playoffs now, that’s great, and that’s obviously the goal from the start.”

On the classroom end of things, rookie defenceman Matthew Thomas earned the Rocky Mountain Diesel Scholastic Player of the Year award. The Boston Pizza Top Playoff Performer will be announced at the conclusion of the post-season run.

See Page 9 for a photo page of the awards ceremony and a complete list of all the award winners.

Kootenay Ice award winners

Rod Hunter Ltd. Players Award……………………………………………………………………..Joey Leach

Apollo Ristorante Most Valuable Player…………………………………………………………..Sam Reinhart

Ron Collision / Dixon Service Centre Top Defenseman…………………………………….Joey Leach

Alpine Toyota Rookie of the Year……………………………………………………………………Luke Philp

Skyway Distributors Most Improved Player……………………………………………………..Mackenzie Skapski

BDO Dunwoody Most Underrated Player………………………………………………………..Jaedon Descheneau

East Kootenay Community Credit Union Community Relations Award………………..Brock Montgomery

Rocky Mountain Diesel Scholastic Player of the Year……………………………………….Matt Thomas

Steeples Construction Player of the Month……………………………………………………..Sam Reinhart

East Kootenay Community Credit Union Community Player of the Month…………..Jagger Dirk

Fan Club’s Player of the Year………………………………………………………………………..Sam Reinhart