We had a lot of players in the running for post-season awards. A lot of races were close.
There was a record 70% player voting participation rate. Considering only 60% vote in a Presidential election, Knights players are significantly better than the average voter. I’m sure you already knew that.
Every player received a vote in the survey. Being mentioned for an award is an honor and recognition your teammates believe in you. If you did not win, it is not a reflection on you or your contribution to the team. You are a winner! Believe!
All the winners on this list received mentions on 50% of their respective ballots. The voting for each award was a puck race and a corner battle. The winners scooped up the puck and deposited it in the net.
Enough about that. Glad you finally asked who won.
Tremendous growth this season. The older you get, the more the game becomes a mental game. That's where belief comes in. This team had the talent and work ethic to win. Learning to succeed comes from self-belief and trusting your teammates. When I say I saw tremendous growth, I am referring to how you competed in the face of adversity. We face some stiff competition. You never backed down and fought hard. You began to believe in your abilities in a different way than you previously had. When you genuinely believe, you have a take no prisoners mentally on the ice. When you unconditionally believe in yourself, nobody is going to beat you to the puck. I love watching the light switch come on. This is why I coach Middle School Hockey. Hopefully, you had fun and learned a lot.
We look forward to you returning to the Knights next season to finish what we have started.
Most Unsung Hero:
This player has been a member of the Knights family for four years now. Three of the years he spent watching his brother play. He wasted no time in making an impact his first year as a Knight. Jacob Webb is the Blue Team’s Most Unsung Hero.
Most Improved Player:
This player is a 2nd year Knight. She is an intense competitor who holds her teammates accountable in a respectful manner. A goalie’s best friend and a beast on the blue line. Meena Al-Kadiri is the Blue Team’s Most Improved Player.
Most Valuable Player:
This player is a 1st year Knight. He is tremendously skilled and makes his teammates better. What impresses me most is his drive, motivation, and fearless play. He experienced exponential growth in his game this year. Lucas Everett is the Blue Team’s Most Valuable Player.
For most of you, this is your last season as a Knight. The previous 3 years went by quickly. Next year, you will start playing hockey for the local High School. Instead of your parents and siblings cheering for you, your classmates with be banging on the glass. I speak for all the coaches when I say we can't wait to watch you become a major contributor for your H.S. team. Lots of fun ahead! I'm going to miss each and every one of you. Good luck and let me know if you ever need anything. Once a Knight, always a Knight!
For those of you returning, you get another season of listening to my speeches. Bet you can't wait for that next conversation. I hope you had fun this season, made some new friends, and learned a lot. We look forward to you returning to the Knights next season to finish what we have started.
Most Unsung Hero:
This player is a 2nd year Knight. I had the pleasure of coaching a few games with him on the bench this season. Drive, determination, and unselfish play are some of his hallmarks. I can't wait to see how he dominates M.S. hockey as an 8th Grader. Christian Binner is the Green Team’s Most Unsung Hero.
Most Improved Player:
This player is a 1st year Knight. When his mom asked if her son could play M.S. hockey as a relative newbie to hockey, I was reluctant to say yes. I invited him to skate with us last summer. He quickly changed my reluctance to a resounding, yes. In addition to winning this award, he is the unofficial, most reliable game invite player. I could always count on him if we were short a player at the last minute. Simon Jackson is the Green Team’s Most Improved Player.
Most Valuable Player:
This player is a 3rd year Knight. He is tremendously skilled and can take over a game at any time. Other interests kept him from participating as much as he would've liked. When he was there, his teammates noticed his skill and voted for him. He is going to be a strong H.S. player. Winston Sweet is the Green Team’s Most Valuable Player.
Rookie of the Year
This bender has been a member of the Knights family for many years. He finally got his chance to put on the jersey this year. Belief and confidence go hand-in-hand. He started slowly but quickly learned to play the game has a higher level. While he plays 1st line center for his other teams, he had to learn to play D on the fly as a Knight. By the end of the season, he was a strong two-way player whom we counted on to be successful. Logan McGraw is this year's Rookie of the Year.
Goalie of the Year
This player is a first-year Knight. His quiet confidence is the first thing you notice about him. When he first joined the team, I asked if he minded getting 40 shots a game. The response was he loved the action. I prepped him well. He routinely stood on his head and kept us in games. He battles to make the 2nd and 3rdsaves and does not beat himself up if one goes in. I can speak for all of us; we love watching him play. Charlie Francis is this year's Goalie of the Year.
Player of the Year
3rd year Knight. This player has grown so much over the last three years. He works hard and driven to be successful. He has a strong belief he can do it all, and he does. In this season, we were playing an opponent; he could score five on easily without breaking a sweat. I asked him not to do anything special and just make his teammates better. I promised him he could play how he wanted to in the 3rd. He had a couple of assists before he scored two late goals shredding the D all by himself to give us a win. We are going to miss this leader. Davian Peretti is our Player of the Year.
Coach of the Year
This Coach always shows up when we need him to. He was deeply disappointed last year when I told him another coach coached more games than him. The players have spoken, Brian Peretti is our Coach of the Year.
The Knight Award
This award is given to individuals who have gone above and beyond for the organization.
This individual has been my partner in crime for the last few years. He has given countless hours to make sure we have ice, professional coaches for a training session, and epic end of the year parties. We will still hold him to the last one before he departs. I will miss our planning sessions and his calming ability to keep me on track. No award or round of applause will repay him for the contribution he has made over the years. He will have to settle for a simple “Thank You.” We are forever grateful. This year’s Knight Award goes to Bill Foster.
Years ago, I was reluctant to take on all this responsibility and commitment. I leaned into it and found it was what I needed. Sometimes the best things in life are only a stride away. For those returning, I hope you decide to continue making strides with us. It's a great day to be a Knight!