Alex Feltmate, of the Valley Maple Leafs, was named the Rookie of the Year in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.
The coaching staff of the Valley Maple Leafs are singing the team's praises after the local hockey squad received two awards from the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.
Alex Feltmate received Rookie of the Year, while the executive behind the Leafs were honoured with Executive of the Year.
Rookie of the Year
In 28 regular season games, Feltmate scored 19 times and offered 22 assists and led the Leafs in points.
Head coach Josh Dill and assistant coach Rob Lindsay both felt Feltmate was deserving of the Rookie of the Year title.
“Skill-wise, I'm sure he's one of the best players in the league,” said Dill, noting Feltmate is a playmaker.
“Even though he did miss close to 10 games, it shows the skill he has and the type of player he is to still get awarded Rookie of the Year,” Dill noted.
Lindsay shared a similar sentiment when describing Feltmate.
“He brings a special talent to the rink every night. It speaks volumes to his commitment and play,” said Lindsay.
“He certainly wears his heart on his sleeve and gives his best every night,” Lindsay added.
Dill said they hope Feltmate will return to the lineup next season but said if he wants to play at a higher level of hockey, the coaching staff will do everything they can to make it happen.
“It's not a surprise to us when we saw he got Rookie of the Year. I think we all figured he was going to get it,” said Dill.
Executive of the Year
The hard work going on behind the scenes of the Valley Maple Leafs was recognized this year.
Dill credits all of the volunteers who helped from the very start to bring the Junior B team to fruition.
“It's a lot of work. They did a great job. It's only Year 2,” said Dill.
The Valley Maple Leafs formed in time for the 2012-13 season in response to the Windsor Royals announcing a one-year hiatus from the NSJHL. The Royals folded before the start of the following season.
“Our group, the executive group, work very hard to give the kids a place to play. If it wasn't for them, there wouldn't be Junior B hockey in Windsor and the Valley, and these kids wouldn't have a place to play,” said Dill. “Hopefully everyone realizes how hard it is and how much work these people put in to make sure there is a team.”
Lindsay said it was an honour to have the executive win the award this year in light of the blood, sweat and tears the volunteers have put in.
“There's a lot of time, effort, and money that is spent doing that and it's just nice to be recognized amongst other organizations and the community,” said Lindsay.
The assistant coach noted that thanks to their dedicated volunteers, the organization went from being an idea to being able to ice a competitive hockey team in short order.
“I'm a little biased but I certainly agree that it's warranted,” said Lindsay. “It takes a big budget to run this team and a lot of hours that the volunteers are doing. There's not one person that is compensated to be involved in this organization. It's simply just for the love of the sport and providing kids with a place to play hockey to keep them out of trouble, and help them in society a little bit.”
Lindsay noted that hockey provides a “great foundation for any business or personal-type relationship” that the players will have in the future.
Dill said the executive meets almost weekly to discuss fundraising initiatives to try to give the young men a first-place Junior B organization to play for.
“I think everyone in the group that puts their time in should be applauded,” said Dill.
Aside from the coaching staff, the main volunteers on the executive include Andy Woolaver, Dani Rippey, Randy Graham, Dale Evans, Jeff Redden, Harry Ullock, Bobby Dill, Dave Hunter, Laurie Young, Harold Fisher, and Lloyd and Judy Rideout.