The Similkameen News Leader
Sports Page for March 23, 2010
POSSE AWARD EFFORT AND TALENT
How do you say goodbye to a team you've grown close to over the past few months?
In Princeton the traditional way of closing the KIJHL season is with a final gathering of players, coaches, executive members, volunteers, billet families and fans to visit, eat and share stories with annual award presentations added for flavour.
The March 17th Posse Awards Night was one such event.
To coach a team into the Conference Finals has got to be a highlight of anyone's career and Head Coach Dale 'Duner' Hladun put it in perspective.
"I can't believe it's been five years I've been here. It has moved along and I'm proud of the progress. There are a lot of franchises who envy who we are."
Looking at stats alone, it doesn't take long to figure out there's something about the Princeton hockey program players want to be a part of. The 2009/10 team included a total of nine veterans from the previous season. Of those, three played the season before that and one, team captain Dan Hillman, started his Posse career in the 2006/07 season.
The 2009/10 Posse also set a franchise record with their regular season totals of 31 wins, 13 losses and 6 overtime losses for a record 68 points for the season which put the team at 4th overall in the 17-team KIJHL.
Add to that personal stats including Dan Hillman's All-Time Posse Points Leader record and Spencer Kristensen's franchise rookie record of 55 points and you get the feeling there is something brewing in the Similkameen.
"I'm really proud of a small town like this being able to run a team that has become a flagship for the league," stated Area H Regional District Director Brad Hope.
Mayor Randy McLean was also full of praise for the Posse.
"Any successful businessman needs a successful product and did we ever have a great product."
Volunteers were recognized as an essential part of the organization and each in attendance received a postcard-sized team photo as thanks for their support over the past season.
"If it wasn't for volunteers we wouldn't be where we are today," Posse Club President Jim Manion said.
"The thing that makes a community work is volunteers," Mayor McLean added.
Before player awards were presented two special awards were handed out.
Bus driver Steve Rose was honoured for his dedication to the team, as were Billet Coordinator Lynda Hodgson and her husband Herb. Herb has coordinated the bottle return fundraiser, which has been very successful for the team.
Out of the ten player awards presented two players were honoured twice and two players shared three awards.
The winners were:
Best Defensive Player
Most Improved Player
Hardest Working Player
Dayton Shaw and Bill Marshall
Best Offensive Player
Ben Morgan and Evan Stack
Most Sportsmanlike Player
Hitman of the Year
Chad Brears and Dan Hillman
Rookie of the Year
Most Valuable Player