The Cranbrook Bucks are happy to announce their team awards following a successful inaugural season in the BCHL.
Community Service Award – Noah Leibl
This award goes to the player in our organization who had the greatest impact in the Cranbrook community during the course of the season. Noah set the standard for what we expect of our players within our community. Over the course of this challenging year, Noah was always willing to lend his time and energy towards valuable causes as best that he could. He was a regular contributor to our afternoon skill sessions and arrived in Cranbrook ahead of training camp in order to help with our inaugural Hockey School. We are proud to give Noah our first-ever Community Service award, as he has set the bar for recipients in years to come.
Scholastic Player of the Year – Jarrod Smith
This award is to recognize a player in our program who best managed to excel in both the academic and athletic arenas. Jarrod was exceptional in balancing his academic workload in addition to the requirements of being a BCHL player, day in and day out. Jarrod remained committed to his academics throughout an extremely challenging year both on the ice and in the virtual classroom. We are thrilled to name Jarrod Smith the inaugural recipient of our Scholastic Player of the Year Award.
Most Valuable Player – Drake Burgin
This award goes to the member of our team who is deemed to have contributed the most to the success of the team over the course of the season. Drake is a worthy recipient of our inaugural MVP award as he quickly established himself as an exceptional player in the BCHL after making the transition to our team from the MJHL. Drake brought a level of experience and ability to our group that we greatly benefitted from over the course of our 20-game regular season. He proved to be a reliable defensemen in all areas of the game, offensively and defensively as well as all areas of our special teams. This made it an obvious choice to recognize Drake with our first MVP award in our organization’s history.
Rookie of the Year – Nathan Airey
This award recognizes the most impactful first-year player on the Bucks roster. While it goes without saying that our expansion team would have an abundance of first-year players, Nathan stood out above the rest for his resilience, dedication, and growth over the course of the winter and our Pod Season in Penticton. Nathan was the backbone of our team in a lot of games, and certainly does not normally receive the recognition that he deserves for the performances that he had during his Rookie Season. Nathan showed character, class, and determination all year long, and is an outstanding recipient of our first-ever Rookie of the Year Award.
Defensive Player of the Year – Rhys Bentham
The Defensive Player of the Year award goes to recognize the individual on our team that most contributed to the defensive strength of our club. Rhys proved himself to be an outstanding defensive player during the course of our Pod Season in Penticton. Despite often matching up with our opponents’ top players and playing a significant role in our Penalty Kill, Rhys never wavered in his willingness to do everything required of him and more on both sides of the puck. Rhys makes the perfect recipient of our inaugural Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Coaches Award – Cam Kungle
This award goes to the player in our program who embodies the qualities and characteristics that our organization emphasizes on a daily basis. Cam is a terrific example of a player who represented our core values every single day. Over the course of the winter, Cam never wavered in his commitment to his teammates, his individual development, and our team. Cam was able to do this with humility, excellence, respect, and discipline while earning a significant role both on and off the ice within our program. We are happy to award Cam with our inaugural Coaches Award.
Top Scorer Award – Walker Gelbard/Zeth Kindrachuk/AJ Vasko
This award goes to the player in our organization who led our team in points during the course of our regular season. With our condensed Pod Season, we wound up having 3 players tied for the team lead in scoring. AJ, Zeth, and Walker were regular contributors to our offensive output over the course of the regular season. All 3 were able to do so in their own way, but each of them started with a base of hard work and an unwavering commitment to their game and development over the course of this winter and into our Pod Season.