Steam Wrap Up Season With Year End Awards

📸 Jen Jensen Photography 

As they always do, the Summerland Steam wrapped up their season with a celebration last week, to honour their outgoing 20 year olds as well as their 2016/17 award winners. 

Whether it’s at the beginning of March or at the end, the benchmark of a great playoff run, the Summerland Steam do this every year. In front of fans, billets, parents and volunteers, the coaching staff and management team acknowledged the accomplishments of their players throughout what was one of the most successful seasons in team history. 

They finished 34-9-1-3, second in their division. They tied a franchise record for wins in a season at 34, and set new win percentage (.725%) and points percentage (.808%) records. They finished the highest they ever have in fourth across the 20 team KIJHL as well as second in the conference, trailing only the Osoyoos Coyotes during the regular season.

The Steam and it’s staff will be looking to improve their team for the 2017/18 campaign, starting with Spring Camp on April 7-9, 2017 at the Summerland Arena. With the potential to bring back five players born in 1997 as 20-year olds in 2017/18, Head Coach John Depourcq automatically starts with a great core group of players. Should they choose to return to play their final year, that group includes Cole Williams, Braden Eliuk, Steven Fiust, Brogan Lautard, Scott Robinson and 2016/17 team MVP Matt Huber.

Provided Coach Depourcq returns again for another season, he’ll have the makings of a pretty good hockey team to start with. There will definitely be some uncertainty, as there always is in Junior B, but come September the Steam should be a team that once again is in the running for a division championship. 

They do have some players that could move on to Jr A in the likes of Ben Dietrich-Scammell, Everett Scherger, Morey Babakaiff and Mike MacLean, but you never know until you get your team together for camp in September. For now they go their separate ways, but not before we hand out some hardware. 

Here are your 2016/17 Award Winners:
Most Valuable Player – Matt Huber

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

There isn’t much more to be said about ‘Hubs’ than the three letters M.V.P. He was just that for the Steam this season, and they were very lucky to have him. He carried a heavy workload this season, starting 36 of Summerland’s 47 games. He maintained a 2.66 goals against average and .907% save percentage on route to 24 wins, the most by a goaltender in Steam history. The 24 win record set by Huber in 2016/17 is better than the previous record by 3, a record of 21 held by Matt’s older brother Brett, who now plays for the Selkirk Saints of the BCIHL.
Most Valuable Player (Playoffs) – Wyatt Gale 

This year’s playoff MVP in my opinion came down to two players. The guy who stopped the pucks, Matt Huber, or the guy who continued to put them in the back of the opposing net, Wyatt Gale. In the playoffs, if you needed a goal or your team needed a boost, Gale was there. He averaged more than a point per game in the playoffs, and scored the series clinching goal in Game 7 of the first round against the Kelowna Chiefs. Against the Osoyoos Coyotes, he was the best player on a team that had little to no fight left in them, and scored in all but one game of the series.

Top Scorer – Riley Pettitt 

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

2016/17’s Top Scorer is Riley Pettitt. Talented from head to toe, Pettitt led Summerland with 65 points this season, tying him for 2nd on the All-time list for Points in a Single Season with assistant coach Jordan McCallum. Pettitt also finishes his KIJHL career with 81 assists, one behind former teammate and Steam captain Paulsen Lautard for first on the franchise’s all time list. 

Most nights Pettitt was the best player for the Summerland Steam, and he’ll be missed along with the four other graduating 20-year olds as they move on to life after the KIJHL. 

Top Defenseman – Cole Williams 

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

Bar none, Cole Williams was Summerland’s best and most consistent Defenseman during the 2016/17 season. There was no other logical choice but to name ‘C-Dub’ the 2016/17 Top Defenseman, because he was just that. He gave the team reliable minutes all season long, played in every situation, and put up some points in the process. 

*Just my Opinion* but if Cole returns for the 2017/18 season, it would not surprise me to see the ‘C’ on his chest on September 9 when the season opens. Of course, that’s a decision for Head Coach John Depourcq and his staff, but C-Dub would be my pick.

Rookie of the Year – Everett Scherger 

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

Rookie of the Year had to be a tough one for the coaching staff to choose. They had (in my mind) THREE options to chose from, and I think they made the correct choice in naming Everett Scherger the 2016/17 Rookie of the Year. Scherger’s puck pursuit all season long was something that made him extremely hard to play against, and his assets were missed when he was out of the lineup. Playing most of the season on a line with Josh Pilon and Steven Fiust, Scherger had the opportunity to play with great players and help create offense by way of his relentless forechecking ability. He made the most of it collecting 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points, along with 61 penalty minutes in 40 Games.

Let the record show that my other two candidates for the Rookie of the Year were Morey Babakaiff and Ben Dietrich-Scammell. 

Most Improved – Morey Babakaiff
 

In my opinion this was probably the easiest choice there was to make as far as the awards were concerned. Morey Babakaiff was chosen as the 2016/17 Most Improved Player, and he definitely was without a shadow of a doubt. After collecting three assists in his first two games in the KIJHL, Babakaiff endured a bit of a rough patch as he got acclimated to life in junior hockey. Playing against bigger, stronger, older players for the first time in his hockey life, Babakaiff really began to come around in late November. It wasn’t on the scoreboard, but in all other areas including the defensive zone. As games passed it was easy to see the confidence building, and we all knew that eventually once he popped his first KIJHL goal the dam would burst. It did on December 10th in 100 Mile House, where Babakaiff notched his first KIJHL goal. From there he began to roll, collecting 15 points in his final 17 games of the season, and was selected to the 2017 KIJHL Top Prospects Showcase where he collected an assist on January 14th. 

Babakaiff was well deserving of the Most Improved Player award in 2016/17, and the Steam will be very lucky if they get him back for another year before making the jump to Jr. A.

Fan Favourite – Calvin Hadley 

📸 Cathy York

For the second year in a row, Calvin Hadley was named the Fan Favourite. The young man affectionately known as ‘Hads’ is always a hit with the fans, in the dressing room, and out in the community. That huge smile that’s become the Hadley trademark over the past 3.5 years simply draws people to him, and the Steam will miss him as he graduates from the KIJHL and moves on to life after Junior Hocke. 

Most Sportsmanlike – Brogan Lautard

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

As a Defenseman in the KIJHL, it isn’t easy to give your team quality minutes without taking a share of penalties. It takes a very special, and very responsible hockey player to do so, and Brogan Lautard is that player. He played all 47 games for the Steam this season, collecting 3 goals and 10 assists, and just 16 penalty minutes while being a defensive specialist and exquisite penalty killer. He played big minutes against tough competition this season, and did so responsibly and smartly on his way to being one of Summerland’s Top Defenseman this season. 

Now  for the tough one..

There is always one award that isn’t given out on Awards Night, but awarded afterwards to the player who displays himself as the ‘Unsung Hero’ of sorts. The Broadcaster’s Choice Award is an award created by myself and the broadcast team, awarded to the player we think displays a mix of skill, grit, and leadership that a team cannot go without. There were a couple of choices we had to choose from this year, including Alex Williams, Steven Fiust, and Ben Dietrich-Scammell, but when we sat down to think about it there was only one choice. 

Broadcaster’s Choice Award : Jarrett Malchow

📸Victoria Rich Photography 

For three straight years, Jarrett Malchow has been one of the most important pieces to the Summerland Steam. It’s not often you find a player who will do whatever it takes to help the team in any area, on the ice or off of it, every single night. Malchow was that guy. He was in the room looking to make a difference whether his gear was strapped on or not. 

When on the ice he’s a fierce competitor, and a guy that will give you everything he’s got on every shift, no matter what. Off the ice he was a part of the leadership group in 2016/17, and wasn’t afraid to say what needed to be said regardless of circumstance.

Accountability is something that’s lost on a lot of KIJHL players, and people in general in this day and age,  but Malchow has enough of it for a whole handful of people. If he made a mistake, he owned it. If the team needed him in a big moment, he was there. Take for instance the guts and leadership it took for him to return for Game 4 of the second round, and play through what very well could have been a season ending injury. 

He could have called it at that time. That could have been it, but that’s not how Jarrett Malchow operates. Instead he fought his way back and suited up for what would be his final junior hockey game, Game 4 against the Osoyoos Coyotes. Malchow stood next to his Yukon Linemates for the national anthem, and gave everything he had left in the tank to try and extend the Steam’s season by even one game. 

That speaks to the character of the kid they call ‘Chow’, and that’s why he’s our 2016/17 Broadcaster’s Choice Award winner.

After all the awards go out and things begin to settle in for the off season, the Steam will have a pretty large void to fill as their five 20-year old players move on to life after hockey. I’d like to personally say thank you to all of them, Calvin Hadley, Alex Williams, Wyatt Gale, Riley Pettitt and Jarrett Malchow. It’s not often you have a core group like this one. One that’s played together for three full seasons and gone to hell and back together many times. It’s been a lot of fun to watch them play hockey, and we hope they stay in touch and around the rink as much as possible in the near future. 

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