Steam Wrap Up Season With Awards Night

It’s always bittersweet, the end of a season. This season, that end came what seems like MUCH later than in previous years for the Summerland Steam. The 2015/16 edition of the Steam, helmed again by Head Coach John Depourcq and staff, once again pushed the boundaries of the franchise’s comfort zone. For the third straight year they pushed further than ever before, this time falling in Game 5 of the Okanagan Shuswap Conference Final to the 100 Mile House Wranglers.

A young team this season, with just two 20-year-olds on the roster, the Summerland Steam came together as a group and put up one heck of a fight despite a hectic schedule. Including the final weekend of the regular season, the Steam played 20 games (1270 minutes, 4 seconds incl. OT) in 31 days. Their travel spanned nearly 2000KM on a bus in that time, and one bus ride to get to 100 Mile House for game 1 of the Conference Final that tested the meddle of every player, coach, and staff member on the trip.

The bottom line is that the 2015/16 KIJHL season goes down as the best in the 5 year Franchise History of the Summerland Steam. They won the most games (34) in the regular season that they ever have. They tied their point total (70) from the historic run of 2013/14 with 70, even though they got there a much different way. The organization saw records for both Total Regular Season Goals (Paulsen Lautard – 66) and Single Season Points (Jack Mills – 67) broken.

After that phenomenal regular season, the Steam proceeded to go deeper into the playoffs than they ever had before, beating the Kelowna Chiefs in round one and the Osoyoos Coyotes in round two. Unfortunately they fell short of their ultimate goal, losing in five games to the 100 Mile House Wranglers in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Final. After 17 playoff games in 27 days, nearly 1100 minutes played, 6 overtime games, and nearly 2000KM traveled, they finally exhaled this week and got a little bit of rest.

This past Thursday night at the IOOF Hall in downtown Summerland, the organization had one last chance to get together and celebrate what a great season this was for this franchise. After some kind words from team pastor and MC Rick Gay as well as Head Coach John Depourcq and GM Gregg Wilson, the hardware was handed out.

Here are the recipients:

TOP SCORER & REGULAR SEASON MVP – JACK MILLS

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Jack finished his final season of junior hockey by setting a new Franchise Record for Single Season Points with 67. He recorded 30 goals, only the second Steam player to do that (Kienan Scott, 32, ’13-14), and 37 assists to pass assistant coach Jordan McCallum (left of frame) for the franchise record. McCallum set the record with 65 points in 2012/13. Jack led the Steam in goals, assists, total points, and points per game average, as well as finishing in the top 10 in scoring for the entire KIJHL.

 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – MATT HUBER

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Matt Huber had a fantastic rookie season in the KIJHL. In 30 appearances, the 18 year-old from Calgary put up an 18-8 record, 2.04 Goals Against Average, and .918% Save percentage to go with SEVEN shutouts. Huber allowed two or less goals in 21 of his 30 appearances during the 2015/16 KIJHL Season, and was a big part of the playoff run the Summerland Steam put together. He and his goaltending partner Matt Kostiw provided Head Coach John Depourcq with two very, very solid options to go with night in and night out from the time Kostiw arrived on January 10th.

TOP DEFENSEMAN – ADAM JONES

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For the second straight season, Adam Jones was named the Summerland Steam’s Top Defenseman. For good reason. After putting up eight points (4g+4a) in 2014/15, Jones took a big leap in 2015/16. He played top-pair minutes for Head Coach John Depourcq, quarterbacked the first power play unit for much of the season, and put up 6 goals and 18 assists for 24 points while cutting his penalty minute total by nearly a third, from 60 in 2014/15 down to 46 in 2015/16.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER – MICHAEL MacLEAN

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The development of Michael MacLean during the 2015/16 KIJHL season was something to behold. A little tentative at the start of the season, MacLean really started to ‘turn the corner’ just prior to the Holiday Break. He began to get comfortable with KIJHL hockey and started to use his combination of size and speed to his advantage. For a big young man, at 6 foot 4 and 225 lbs, MacLean skates very well and has a great set of hands. As the year progressed he began to get comfortable using those tools, and eventually found himself replacing an injured Jarrett Malchow on the Yukon Line alongside Wyatt Gale and Riley Pettitt during the late stages of the season. If MacLean returns to the Steam next season, I would imagine with his blend of size and skill, he will have a chance to capture a spot in Head Coach John Depourcq’s Top 6.

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR – LATHAN MCKINNEY

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An unfortunate situation forced then 19-year-old Lathan McKinney out of the Steam lineup late in the regular season, and cost him the entire playoffs as a result. The main thing is that the problem is now solved, and McKinney is recovering comfortably. In 41 games this season, McKinney posted a goal and seven assists for Summerland, but in the past two seasons combined, 85 games, McKinney has taken just 5 minor penalties. Yes, that’s just 10 minutes in penalties in two seasons. That’s pretty great, especially for a defenseman who is versatile, dependable, and brings a lot to the table. For those reasons, he was named the Summerland Steam’s “Sportsman of the Year” for 2015/16.

FAN FAVOURITE – CALVIN HADLEYDSC_0213

Judging by the response from his teammates when Calvin Hadley was named the Fan Favourite of 2015/16, I would be comfortable telling you that the guy they call “Hads” is a dressing room favourite as well. Hadley is beloved by his teammates, his peers, and his coaches because he’s a guy that doesn’t take a shift off. He’s a hard-nosed type player that teams don’t like to play against, and he’ll stick up for any teammate, any time there’s a need. That also endears him to the fans. In the playoffs his shot became a sort of ‘secret weapon’ for the Steam, as he scored some big goals for them with nothing more than a low, hard point shot.

Oh, and moments like these help endear him to teammates and fans, too:

 

 

PLAYOFF MVP – BRADEN ELIUKDSC_0217

The 2015/16 KIJHL Playoffs were a coming out party of sorts for Braden Eliuk. The 19-year-old from Kelowna, BC, put up 3 goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 17 games during the playoffs to lead the Steam (and the league) in scoring. During the regular season Eliuk posted 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points and a 0.7 points per game average, which jumped to 1.2 points per game with his 21 points in 17 playoff games. For that, he was named the Summerland Steam’s playoff MVP. If he returns next year to the Steam, he’ll surely play top line minutes and be a BIG part of what the then 6th year franchise will want to accomplish.

 

There was one other award that WASN’T given out at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday night. That, of course, is the “Broadcaster’s Choice Award”. The Broadcaster’s Choice Award, formerly the Blogger’s Choice Award, is an award that is given to the player that doesn’t exactly fit into any of the other categories. I liken it to the ‘Unsung Hero’ award, and this year it goes to a very special hockey player.

BROADCASTER’S CHOICE AWARD – ALEX ‘GRIZZ’ WILLIAMS

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There wasn’t much debating this one. Alex Williams, the guy they affectionately call ‘Grizz’, doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition. He’s a guy that goes about his business so comfortably, so steadily, that you rarely ever have to talk about him. He’s a guy that’s well liked by almost everybody, with the only exception being opposing players. Grizz will put up a few points a season, but his voice and leadership in the room and on the ice is far more valuable than any amount of points could ever be. He’s defensively solid, by all accounts a great teammate, and a guy that’s willing to stand up to anybody that gets in his or his teammates’ dog house. He’s got a big beard, and an even bigger heart, and that just adds to what Williams brings to the table for the Summerland Steam. Those qualities are qualities that can’t be taught, and are also qualities that deserve more recognition than Grizz gets. For that, Joel, Mike and I have chosen Alex Williams as this year’s Broadcaster’s Choice Award winner.

Now for the always tough part:                            THE 20’S

 

PAULSEN LAUTARD

After 130 games, 66 goals, and 82 assists in a Summerland uniform, ‘The Captain’ is done in junior hockey. It’s been a great three seasons for the relationship between Paulsen Lautard and the Summerland Steam. He’s the Steam’s franchise leader in goals scored in the regular season, and a big part of what’s gone on in the town of Summerland in the last three years. At his best, Paulsen Lautard is one of the most dominant KIJHL players I’ve seen in my years in hockey. His blend of size, speed and skill is very nearly unmatched, and his leadership will be missed. Not only is he a huge asset on the ice, but a great one off of it as well. The Steam organization wishes Paulsen all the best in hockey and in life, wherever the future may take him.

Career Statistics, Regular Season: Penticton Lakers(2011-13), Summerland Steam (2013-16)

 

 

CAREER TOTALS

GP

167

GOALS

77

ASSISTS

91

POINTS

168

  • Leaves Summerland as the only player to wear the ‘C’ on his sweater for more than one season.
  • Leaves Summerland as the Franchise Leader in goals during the regular season with 66.
  • Leaves Summerland as the leader in Goals (66), Assists (82), and Points (148). Also sits 4th in Games Played (130) and 5th in Points Per Game Average (1.14)

JACK MILLS

 

When Jack Mills arrived to start the 2014/15 KIJHL season, almost every person in the organization knew immediately that they’d found a special player. Jack possesses a kind of skill set that could have had him playing at the CHL or BCHL level, if not for a couple of injuries the previous two seasons. He’s a superstar on the ice, as evidenced by his career numbers seen below, but more importantly he’s a guy that demands respect from his teammates and his peers. Whether it’s in the dressing room, on the ice, or out in the community, Jack is a guy that his teammates look up to and learn from. His passion for hockey is special, and he’ll do anything to win. Whether it’s scoring a big goal, killing a penalty, or laying out to block a shot with an already injured limb, he’ll do it, and that’s what makes him the player he is. Mills capped off the season with 67 points to finish in the top 10 in KIJHL scoring, lead the Steam, and break a franchise record previously held by one of his coaches, Jordan McCallum. He’s been a pleasure to watch from the moment he arrived here in Summerland, and the organization wishes Jack the best in whatever his bright future may hold.

Career Statistics, Regular Season: Summerland Steam (2014-16)

 

CAREER TOTALS

GP

100

GOALS

57

ASSISTS

66

POINTS

123

PTS P/G

1.23

  • Leaves the Steam sitting second All-Time to fellow 20-year-old Paulsen Lautard in Goals (57), Assists (66), and Points (123)
  • Jack sits second all-time in points per game average as well, with an average of 1.23 points per game.
  • Jack holds the single season record for points with 67 (30 goals, 37 assists) this past season.

 

 

Lastly, a big THANK YOU for following along with Trolley Talk again this season. This is a space that allows me a lot of freedom to do a lot of things to keep the hockey world up to date on all things Summerland Steam, and I appreciate everybody following along for another year. Stay tuned, as eventually (when I’ve got time) I’ll put together a highlight package of all of the wonderful moments this 2015/16 Summerland Steam squad gave us this year. It was the best year in the history of the Summerland Steam, and it’s only going to get better.

Signing off for 2015/2016, again, THANK YOU.

3 thoughts on “Steam Wrap Up Season With Awards Night

  1. Hey Tim,

    Thanks for all your work with the Steam, your input and up to date reporting, and knowledge you share from the team in Trolley Talk are greatly enjoyed and appreciated!

    Rod & Cynthia

    Like

  2. Thanks for all your efforts…..your team in the booth are second to none……as for Trolley Talk always a great read…great insight ….an a unbelievable commitment and a ton of work….Thanks for the ride….you helped me make some great memories……missing it already

    Liked by 1 person

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