NPHL Awards Winners Stories

NPHL Major Awards

(* denotes tie)

Most Valuable Player: *Rick Cleaver, FSJ
……………………………*Braden Gamble, MAN
Rookie-of-the-Year: Jacob Anderson, HP
Coach-of-the-Year: Andrew Leriger, FSJ
Most Gentlemanly Player: Ty Wiebe, GRIM
Best Goaltender: Braden Gamble, MAN
Best Defenceman: Joel Pelletier, FAL
……………………….Kevin Swales, DC
Best Centre: Fred Tanguay, DC
Best Right Wing: Pat Rowan, FAL
Best Left Wing: Rick Cleaver, FSJ

East Division All-Star Team

(* denotes tie)

Goaltender: Braden Gamble, MAN
Defenceman: Joel Pelletier, FAL
……………….Al Anderson, HP
Centre: Dallas Brochu, FAL
Right Wing: Pat Rowan, FAL
Left Wing: *Jacob Anderson, HP
……………*Bond Hawryluk, GRIM

West Division All-Star Team

(* denotes tie)

Goaltender: Josh Round, DC
Defenceman: *Reid Campbell, FSJ
……………….*Jonathan Jasper, DC
……………….*Tyrell Mason, GP
……………….*Kevin Swales, DC
Centre: Mac Caron, GP
Right Wing: Jeff Shipton, FSJ
Left Wing: Rick Cleaver, FSJ

Cleaver, Gamble share MVP honours

For the first time in NPHL history, the MVP awards vote has ended in a tie.
And why not? Fort St. John’s Rick Cleaver wins his third straight MVP honour while Manning’s Braden Gamble also wins his third. In the last six years, both stars have either won or shared the MVP award.
Cleaver and Gamble each received three first place votes, one second and one third for a total of 19 points. Grimshaw’s Bond Hawryluk placed third in voting with 12 points.
Cleaver, who led the Flyers to a first place finish in the West Division this season, and first place overall, led the Flyers in scoring this season [22-17-39 points], which also placed him second in league scoring behind Falher’s Cedric Harvey. He led the NPHL with 22 goals, tied for eighth in assists with 17, and tied for first in power play goals with six. He had 10 more points than any other Flyer. Cleaver has now led the Flyers in scoring three straight seasons, and now boasts career totals of 94-86-180 points in only 80 games played. Cleaver was also selected to the West Division All-Star Team for the third straight season on wing.
Kip Noble is the only other Flyer to win the MVP award, in 2008-09.
The awards and honors keep piling up for goaltender Gamble, the backbone of the Comets. Despite the sixth best average in the NPHL among eight qualifiers [5.81], voters could not ignore the stats. The Comets gave up 54.70 shots per game and were outshot by 543 shots this season, an average of 27.15 shots per game. It was only through Gamble’s heroics that the Comets were close in many games. Gamble also won the MVP award in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Gamble was also named the NPHL’s Best Goaltender for the sixth straight season, and was named to his sixth All-Star Team.
Other Comets to win the MVP award were Doug Jaeger in 1981-82 and 1990-91, Eric Henitiuk in 1983-84, 1986-86, and 1987-88, Rick Dundas in 1968-69, and Lawrence Blanchette in 1967-68. Gamble now ties Henitiuk for most MVP awards [3] in Comets’ history.

HP’s Anderson wins Rookie-of-the-Year honours

Jacob Anderson is the first High Prairie Regal to win NPHL Rookie-of-the Year honours in 22 years.
Anderson led the Regals in scoring this season [16-14-39 points] and was tenth overall in NPHL scoring. His 16 goals were tied for third league best, his 14 assists tied for 13th best.
The Gift Lake born, High Prairie Minor hockey product, played in 2011-12 with the Grande Prairie Midget Storm, 2012-13 to 2013-14 with the Slave Lake Wolves, and 2014-15 to 2016-17 with the Frog Lake Thunderbirds.
Anderson was a runaway winner in voting, receiving five first place votes and 26 points. Fort St. John’s Steven Fast and Falher’s Koltin Caron received the other first place votes, and gathered 12 points in voting.
Other Regals to win the Rookie-of-the-Year award are Tyler Shantz in 1995-96, Jesse Smith in 1985-86, Vern Walker in 1984-85, Bob Calhoon in 1982-83, and Richard Pratt in 1966-67.

Back-to-back coaching award for FSJ’s Leriger

Leading the Fort St. John Flyers to the best record in the NPHL and the Lawrence Cup, has paid off for Andrew Leriger, the NPHL Coach-of-the-Year.
It is also Leriger’s second straight award and marked the second straight year the Flyers have won the Lawrence Cup, and fifth overall, having won it from 2006-07 to 2008-09. Leriger is still only the second Flyers’ coach to win the award after Bob Kalb in 2004-05.
The Flyers had the league’s best record [13-5-0-0], one point better than Grande Prairie. Leriger received three first place votes with four other coaches receiving first place votes. Leriger garnered 19 total points while High Prairie’s Jimmy McLean was second with 12 points. Every coach in the league received either a first, second or third place vote.

Wiebe wins Most Gentlemanly Player

Grimshaw’s Ty Wiebe has won his second straight Most Gentlemanly Player award in a landslide.
The Huskies’ forward received four of seven first place votes, and 26 points. Placing a distant second was High Prairie’s Gordy Laderoute with one first place vote and 16 points.
Wiebe combines not only a gentlemanly style of play, but a high standard. He was fourth in NPHL scoring this season [20-17-37 points}, and one of the league’s two 20-goal scorers [FSJ’s Rick Cleaver had 22].
What impresses voters is the time spent in the sin bin. In his first two years in the NPHL, Wiebe spent only six minutes in the penalty box each season. This season, Wiebe “slashed” it to only four minutes.
For his NPHL career, Wiebe has now only been assessed 16 penalty minutes in his 66 games played. He has also amassed 69-77-147 points in three NPHL seasons.
Other Huskies to win the award are John Smart in 1958-59, Bill McFaddyn in 1973-74, Dennis Aspeslet in 1986-87, and four-time winner Terry Houlder in 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, and 2005-06. Houlder also won the award in 2003-04 with the Grimshaw-Peace River Wild.

6th straight Best Goaltender Award for Gamble

Manning’s Braden Gamble has won his sixth straight NPHL Best Goaltender award.
Gamble, who played all but 77:22 minutes for the Comets this season in 20 games, posted a 4-14 record but it was his amazing save percentage and the number of shots stopped which earned him the award. The Comets gave up 54.70 shots per game and were outshot by 543 shots this season, an average of 27.15 shots per game. It was only through Gamble’s heroics that the Comets were close in many games.
Gamble has now won the award in each of his six seasons in the NPHL, the first four with the Comets, last season with the Grimshaw Huskies, and this season with the Comets.
Gamble received four of seven first place votes, and 21 points. Fort St. John’s Travis McLean was second in voting with 15 points. McLean had the best goals against average in the NPHL at 2.88 compared to Gamble’s 5.81.
The only other Comet to win the Best Goaltender Award is Eric Henitiuk. Henitiuk won the award 10 times: seven straight years from 1982-83 to 1988-89, two straight years from 1990-91 and 1991-92, and 1996-97.

Pelletier, Swales tie for Best Defencemen honours

It has been 30 years since there has been a tie vote for the NPHL Best Defenceman.
The steak has ended with Falher’s Joel Pelletier and Dawson Creek’s Kevin Swales tieing for the honour in the tightest vote in NPHL history.
Pelletier [2-14-16 points] won the award despite not getting a single first place vote – the first time that has happened in league history. He received three second place votes to earn his nine points. Swales [3-12-15 points] received a first, second and third place vote to earn his nine points.
Seven different defenceman received first place votes. Two other players were one point behind in voting [Fort St. John’s Reid Campbell and Grande Prairie’s Tyrell Mason] while three more players were two points back [High Prairie’s Al Anderson, Dawson Creek’s Jonathan Jasper, and Grande Prairie’s Tanner Labbe].
The last time there were co-winners of the award was in 1987-88 when Manning’s Ken Asmussen and Grimshaw’s Ky Forbes shared the award.
Pelletier’s win marks the first time a Pirate has won the award in 37 years. Other Pirates to win the award include Len Pelland in 1966-67, Dave Gervais in 1977-78, and Bob Maisonneuve in 1980-81.
Swales becomes the fourth Canuck to win the award and seventh overall. Kip Noble won four straight years from 2001-02 to 2004-05, Adam Loncan in 2009-10, and Tyrell Mason in 2010-11.
NOTE: Manning’s Michael Gillen was declared ineligible for not having played the required number of games. A revote did not occur.

Tanguay wins Best Centre Award

Dawson Creek centre Fred Tanguay has won his first major NPHL award.
Tanguay was named the Best Centre after winning the vote by one point over Grande Prairie’s Mac Caron. Tanguay received three first place votes, and one second for 18 points. Caron received two firsts, two seconds, and a third for 17 points.
Tanguay [5-7-12 points] tied for 51st in league scoring, but it was his solid defensive play which also earned him votes. Tanguay now has 41-44-85 points in his NPHL career in 63 games played, having spent the first four seasons with the Spirit River Rangers from 2013-14 to 2016-17. He was part of four championship teams with the Rangers.
Tanguay is the third Canuck to win the award. Curtis Cardinal won in 2002-03, and Justin Paul 2010-11.

Rowan named Best Right Winger

Whether it’s on the left wing or right wing, Falher’s Pat Rowan continues to win NPHL awards.
Rowan won his latest award by receiving four of seven first place votes, and 23-17 points over Fort St. John’s Jeff Shipton, who placed second.
Rowan was second on the Pirates in scoring this season [11-23-34 points] in 18 games played, and now boasts career totals of 133-186-313 points in 162 games played.
Rowan also won the Best Right Winger Award in 2012-13 [co-winner] and 2013-14, and was a co-winner of the Best Left Winger Award in 2011-12.
Other Pirates to win the award were Luc Desaulniers in 1975-75, Roger Gervais in 1979-80 and 1980-81, and three straight years from 1987-88 to 1989-90, Glen White in 1984-85, and Steve Reade in 1997-97.

Cleaver named NPHL’s Best Left Winger

Make it three straight years Fort St. John’s Rick Cleaver has won the Best Left Winger Award.
Cleaver [22-17-39 points] led the Flyers in scoring this season and was second overall to Falher’s Cedric Harvey. Cleaver led the NPHL in goals [22], tied for first in power play goals [6], and tied for eighth in assists [17]. He is part of a high-scoring line featuring Jeff Shipton and Adam Horst.
The now three-time MVP has career totals of 94-86-180 points in only 80 games played.
Ian Munro is the only other Flyer to win the award, in 2005-06.

3 Pirates Named to East All-Star Team

The Falher Pirates have placed a division-high three players on the East All-Star Team this season. The High Prairie Regals placed two players while the Grimshaw Huskies and Manning Comets each placed one.
Joel Pelletier of Falher wins his first all-star nod on defence. Pelletier also won the NPHL’s Best Defenceman Award in a tie vote with Dawson Creek’s Kevin Swales.
Pelletier [2-14-16 points] help lead Falher to the best defensive record in the East Division by over half a goal per game.
Joining him on defence in High Prairie’s Al Anderson [4-15-19 points], who becomes one of only a few players in NPHL history to win all-star awards in forward and defensive position. Winning awards was nothing new for Anderson in his early days. He was the NPHL MVP in 1999-2000, three-time Best Centre in 1995-96, 1999-2000 and 2000-01, and six-time all-star [now seven].
Dallas Brochu wins his first All-Star Award at centre. He was ninth in scoring on the Pirates with 3-12-15 points. He received two first place votes of three possible and earned 11 points. Only two points behind were Grimshaw’s Corson Fairless [13-22-35 points] and High Prairie’s Gordy Laderoute [14-7-12 points].
Pat Rowan of Falher was selected on right wing. He was second on the Pirates in scoring this season [11-23-34 points] in 18 games played, and now boasts career totals of 133-186-313 points in 162 games played.
Rowan also won the Best Right Winger Award in 2012-13 [co-winner] and 2013-14, and was a co-winner of the Best Left Winger Award in 2011-12.
High Prairie’s Jacob Anderson and Grimshaw’s Bond Hawryluk each received two first place votes and a second place vote to earn 13 points in voting on left wing.
Anderson led the Regals in scoring this season with 16-14-30 points while Hawryluk did the same with the Huskies [14-25-39 points].
Anderson also won NPHL Rookie-of-the-Year honours.
It was the first time both Anderson and Hawryluk were selected to the All-Star Team.
Gamble was selected in goal. Please see above for details.

Flyers, Canucks lead West All-Stars

Three players from the Fort St. John Flyers and Dawson Creek Canucks were named to the West Division All-Star Team. Rounding out the team were two players from the Grande Prairie Athletics.
In an NPHL first, four players tied on defence for all-star nods. Fort St. John’s Reid Campbell [4-8-12 points], Dawson Creek’s Jonathan Jasper [5-5-10 points], and Grande Prairie’s Tyrell Mason [2-5-7 points] each received a first place vote and third place vote. Kevin Swales [3-12-15 points] received two second place votes leaving each player with six points.
It was the first all-star nod for Campbell, Jasper and Swales. It was Mason’s second straight placing on the East team and third selection overall, having made the team in 2010-11, the same year he won the Best Defenceman Award.
Josh Round also earned his first All-Star award in goal for the Canucks. He posted a 6-4 record with one shutout and a 3.48 goals against average, despite giving up over 34 shots on goal per game as a team. His maximum two first place votes vaulted him over Fort St. John’s Travis McLean, who placed second.
Grande Prairie Athletics Mac Caron wins the nod at centre after also getting both first place votes. It is also his first All-Star Award. He led the Athletics in scoring this season with 15-19-34 points.
Meanwhile, Fort St. John’s Jeff Shipton [second on the Flyers with 6-23-29 points] gets both first place votes at right wing, as does Rick Cleaver at left wing.
It is Shipton’s second straight award at right wing. He is also a former NPHL Rookie-of-the-Year in 2008-09.
As for Cleaver, it marks his third straight year on the All-Star Team. Cleaver [22-17-39 points] led the Flyers in scoring this season and was second overall to Falher’s Cedric Harvey. Cleaver led the NPHL in goals [22], tied for first in power play goals [6], and tied for eighth in assists [17]. He is now a three-time MVP.

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