Admirals hand out awards at annual banquet

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2017-18 Amherstburg Admirals reassembled Saturday night and celebrated the season, though admitting it wasn’t the result they were looking for.

The local Jr. C hockey team held its annual awards banquet in the Libro Centre’s community room with high hopes for next year and gratitude for the players, coaches, parents and volunteers that helped with this past season. The Admirals season ended in the first round of the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs after they lost 1-0 in Game 7 to the Mooretown Flags Feb. 18.

“There are a lot of positives going forward,” said co-owner Wes Ewer. “(Co-owners) Matt (Fox), Gaspare (Spada) and I are excited for the future of this team.”

Ewer offered thanks to all who were involved with the team this past season.

“Without the players and parents, we don’t have a hockey team. Thank you for being part of our family,” he said. “I love that we are a tight knit group and I hope we continue that in the future.”

Ewer said they are one of the groups bidding to operate the pro shop at the Libro Centre, saying it would add value to the hockey team.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals held its award banquets Saturday evening at the Libro Centre. Front row (from left): Ben Larder, Reid Stieler, Dylan Muzzatti, Dean Patterson, Ryan Holzel, Ryan Alexander and Cory Burns. Back row (from left): assistant coach Daniel Slipchuck, Cole Welsh, assistant coach Eric Shaw, Josh Talerico, head coach/GM Paul Bortignon, assistant coach Rob Bondy, Austin Jennings, equipment manager Grant Wood and co-owner Matt Fox.

Head coach/general manager Paul Bortignon agreed, telling the group in attendance at the banquet that “we couldn’t do anything without you guys.” He added they are looking forward to a better result in the 2018-19 season though admitted they would missing having Fox behind the bench. Eric Shaw and Daniel Slipchuk have been added to the coaching staff.

Bortignon said “we had a successful year points-wise” though admitted they didn’t really want a first round playoff match-up with Mooretown. He believed the Admirals will take a big step forward next season, though acknowledged they will have to do so without graduating players Ryan Holzel, Ryan Alexander, Dean Patterson and Dylan Muzzatti, the latter being the captain for the 2017-18 season.

“It is a precious time,” Bortignon said of the junior hockey experience. “You are going to remember this going forward. Be proud of yourselves. Be proud of what you accomplished.”

The team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award was shared by Cory Burns, the PJHL Stobbs Division leading scorer, and Ben Larder, whom Bortignon believes is one of the top goalies in the league. Austin Jennings and Dean Patterson shared the Defenseman of the Year Award with Reid Stieler being named Rookie of the Year.

The John Holzel Photographer Award was shared by the four graduating players. Cole Welsh captured the Don Elvy Teammate of the Year Award while the Earl Allard Coaches’ Award went to Josh Talerico. The Spada Family Bursary was award to Jennings.

Jennings was also named the new captain of the Admirals, with Burns, Travis Campbell and Caleb Paquette being named assistant captains.

“It’s super exciting,” said Jennings, of being named captain. “It’s something I wanted to be since I was a kid.”

Jennings said he wants to help lead his teammates, with the goal being “nothing short of winning it all.” He added he wants to help the younger players as “I want to show them what it takes to be a leader.” Jennings was an assistant captain last year and becoming captain was one of his goals.

“I want to do something good for the town. They’ve been with us through the ups and downs. I want to bring something back for them,” Jennings stated.

The team also paid tribute to the late Tom Schinkelshoek, who was with the president of the team when it was known as the Kingsville Comets and stayed with the team in different roles when the franchise moved to Amherstburg. He returned to Kingsville as president of the Kingsville Kings.

The Admirals will hold summer skates in the next few months before holding their training camp in late August.

The 2018-19 season will get started in September.

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