Jersey number of Rockets’ top scorer and MVP retired as team celebrates 2017-2018 season

The North Dundas Rockets capped their best-ever season with their annual awards banquet, where retiring defenceman Bryden van Kessel (upper left and right in the compound photo, above) took home a lot of the hardware. Courtesy photos

Retiring Bryden van Kessel skates away with MVP, Top Defenseman and Scoring awards

Banquet follows team’s tough championship loss to Papineauville

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

WINCHESTER — The North Dundas Rockets hosted its annual banquet and awards presentation April 29 at the Winchester Lions Club — hosting 70 players, fans, parents, volunteers and sponsors.  The organization would like to thank all those who participated in this event and most specifically the sponsors in our community that have allowed us to operate this program.  Without the support we get it simply wouldn’t be possible.

Nik Paas (left) and Lenard Mclean present Brodie Barkley with the Coaches’ Award. Courtesy photo

Coaches Award presented to Brodie Barkley 

  • The Coaches Award is selected by the coaching staff and is awarded to a player that demonstrate character leadership and coachability.  This player is a Chesterville native who started his minor hockey career in North Dundas before moving on to play AAA for the Upper Canada Cyclones in Bantam and Midget.
  • Barkley was drafted in the CCHL Junior A draft with the 14th pick in the 2nd round by the Pembroke Lumber Kings
  • He found a home playing junior B for the Morrisburg Lions as a 16 year old, following that teams movement to the NCJHL he played two seasons with the Prescott Flyers in the newly formed CCHL 2.  In his last year with the Flyers he recorded 22 pts in 45 games from their blueline
  • In 2017-2018 he made the decision to come home and join the Rockets where he was one of only 2 players to play the teams entire regular season schedule recording 28pts in 33 games.
  • This player played through a serious shoulder injury the second half of the season an throughout the playoffs but from the outside you never would have known it
  • A real character player who never complained, lead by example and plays this game the way it’s supposed to be played.
  • This year’s coaches award goes to Brodie Barkley.

Tom McMahon (right) and Scott McLean of the Chesterville Lions present the Best Defensive Forward Award to Bradley Stitt. Courtesy photo

Best Defensive Forward presented to Bradley Stitt 

  • The best defensive forward award goes to a player on our team that best exemplifies a 200 ft game, a guy who does all the little things right; gets pucks out, back checks hard, blocks shots; a guy who you want on the ice in all crucial situations
  • This years recipient is a local North Dundas hockey product who started in North Dundas Minor Hockey before moving on to the Upper Canada Cyclones and Ottawa 67s AAA programs.
  • Stitt was drafted by the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL with the 21st pick in the 2nd round.
  • He would later go on to play Junior B in Perth and Casselman of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey league where he won an EOJHL Championship in 2014-2015 as a member of the Vikings before moving away for school where he would suit up for three different teams in Simco, Brantford and Dundas.
  • This year he returned home and, like Brodie, played in all 33 regular season games recording 30pts.
  • He was an assistant captain on our club this year as chosen by the coaching staff, a decision I was very happy with as the season progressed and I got to know this young man.

The Regular Season Top Scorer Award went to Bryden van Kessel, presented by Duane Young of Industrial Stainless. Courtesy photo

Top Scorer regular Season presented to Bryden van Kessel 

  • The top Scorer award is in recognition of the clubs highest point producer during the regular season.  This year’s winner recorded 31 goals and 41 assists totalling 72 points in 29 games played, good enough for a 3rd place finish in the league scoring standings as a defensiveman, which is incredible.
  • A Chesterville native who started his minor hockey in North Dundas before going to play for the Upper Canada Cyclones AAA program, he was drafted in the 3rd round of the CCHL junior A draft by the Brockville Braves.
  • Following the draft he played 3 seasons with the Winchester Hawks of the CCHL 2 recording a total of 105 pts.
  • In 2015-16 a wrist injury gave van Kessel an opportunity to play in his hometown of Chesterville where he anchored the Rockets blueline for the past two seasons, this past year as the team captain.
  • One of the most offensively dynamic defenseman I have had the privilege of coaching and watching over the past five seasons with the Hawks and the Rockets — an offensive defenseman like the NCJHL has never seen before in its league.

van Kessel Family Award presented to Deb and Des Desarmia

  • This award was created last season in memory of the late Peter van Kessel Sr. — one of the original founders of the Junior C program and could frequently be seen around North Dundas selling Rockets 50/50 tickets
  • Pete Sr. was always willing to share his opinions and thoughts on hockey.   I can honestly say that the rinks in North Dundas are not the same without Pete, and we all miss him very much, and would like to thank him and his family for this award.
  • This year’s recipients — Deb and Des Desarmia — could be seen first thing as you walked in the rink for our homes games.  They ran the door almost every game and have been doing that as long as I can remember being here.  Volunteers like these are the foundation of every team or organized event, people you can count on and who donate their time with very little thanks in some circumstances.  I enjoy seeing these two in Chesterville at the MacEwen’s after our weekend games and talking about the team.

The new Rockets Resolution Award went to Christopher Marchand, presented by Stan and Betty Vanden Bosch of the Chesterville Rotary Club. Courtesy photo

Rockets Resolution Award presented to Christopher Marchand 

  • The Rockets Resolution Award is a new award that was created this season to recognize a player who has overcome serious obstacles throughout the season.  It stands for dedication and resiliency under daunting circumstances.
  • Marchand played his minor hockey with the Ottawa 67s AAA program where he won two league championships in 2009-2010 and 2012-2013.
  • He was drafted in the second round of the CCHL junior A draft by the Kanata Stallions before playing in the CCHL 2 with, South Ottawa, Arnprior, Ottawa West, Westsport and Prescott. Did I miss anyone Marshie??
  • He finally found a home in North Dundas playing for the Rockets where he has been an integral part of this team the past couple seasons.
  • As a club we’ve got to know his family, and have thoroughly enjoyed have this guy as a teammate.  Always positive on the bench, good for the odd one liner, and always entertaining in any conversation.
  • During the first half of this season, this player suffered a broken jaw in a game against Prescott causing him to miss almost three months of hockey.
  • Surprisingly, and against the odds, he returned as the season ended in time for playoffs.
  • He played 17 games in the playoffs recording 18pts and was a big presence for our team throughout our run.
  • I guy that I know, and I personally will miss next season.

Justin Lefebvre collects the Rookie of the Year Award from Ken Byers. Courtesy photo

Rookie of the Year presented to Justin Lefebvre 

  • This award is presented to a first year NCJHL player who has an outstanding season and has made serious contributions to the success of our team.
  • We found this guy in an Ottawa West training camp after going to watch an exhibition game during the pre-season.
  • Lefebvre played his minor hockey in Aylmer, Quebec, which was an automatic strike for me as General Manager given my predisposition to hockey players from that particular part of the country.   It’s a good thing Lenard was there with me to correct my pessimistic, discriminative nature.
  • In Aylmer, this player was a stand out scorer, whom I was able to acquire in a trade with the Gatineau Hull Volants.
  • This year, playing for us, he finished second in team scoring with 29 goals, 24 assists and 53 pts during the regular season and added another 20pts in 18 playoff games.
  • This guy was the diamond in the rough that we were able to find this year, a kid that has a very bright future on our team, and that will be the cornerstone of our franchise for the next couple years hopefully.

Bryden van Kessel collects the Regular Season MVP Award from John Cinnamon. Courtesy photo

Regular Season MVP presented to Bryden van Kessel

  • The regular season MVP is awarded to the player on our roster that is deemed most valuable to the team.
  • This player — grandson of the late Peter van Kessel Sr. — made an impact in every game he played, logged 30 minutes each night and was the leader on and off the ice for this team.
  • In my opinion, an MVP is judged by character, skill, production and leadership; all qualities that this player processes.  We chose Bryden van Kessel to be our captain this season because we felt he was the most important player we had at the beginning of the season, and to be honest, he did not disappoint in that role.
  • The emotion he played with, his desire to win, four game-winning goals in the regular season, he was this team’s leader in every aspect — a kid I would take on any hockey team that I could at any time.

Most Improved Player presented to Jack van Kessel

  • The most improved player award goes to a guy that has demonstrated significant improvement in his ability to play throughout the course of the season.
  • This player — another grandson of the late Peter van Kessel Sr. — is a Chesterville native who has played Minor Hockey in North Dundas for his entire career, a graduate from our local Midget B rep program.
  • Jack van Kessel recorded 19 pts in his rookie season, but most importantly earned the trust of the coaching staff as the season progress, he became an important player to have on our team.
  • I can remember going to Vankleek Hill earlier this season, and I was coaching because Paas was out of town.  This player kept going on about how he was a second-line player, and that I should treat him with more respect … I told him that we had only two lines for that game, so he was right, I no choice but to treat him as a second line player.
  • Always good for a laugh, and a great kid to have our team.

Top Defenseman presented to Bryden van Kessel

Steve Grubb of the Chesterville Legion presents the Top Defenseman Award to Bryden van Kessel. Courtesy photo

  • The top defenseman award is presented to a ‘DMan’ that best exemplifies the defensive aspects of his position.
  • This year’s winner gets overlooked at times for his defensive abilities due to the fact that he finished third in league scoring this season.
  • The best way to play defense is have the puck, and when Bryden van Kessel was on the ice, we had the puck more often than not.
  • Also playing defense includes many intangibles like gap control, having a good stick, filling lanes, and moving the puck, all things that this player does very well.

Chris Hart of Allied Associates presents Nick Sourges with the Most Sportsmanlike Player award. Courtesy photo

Most Sportsmanlike Player presented to Nick Sourges

  • This award recognizes a player who plays hockey the way it should be played, a tough competitor who does not punish his team in the penalty box.
  • Our most sportsmanlike player this year was a defenseman who played his minor hockey in Nepean that came to us about a month into the season after not playing any competitive hockey for over three years.
  • This guy is a tough competitor that angles players and plays a physical game without taking penalties, which is very tough to do.
  • Sourges also demonstrates great team qualities with a positive attitude and a high compete level
  • I can remember asking him if he wanted to play with us the rest of the season and his answer was “ as long as I get to hit people, I’m good.”

Colleen Young of Forever Young Creations presents the Most Outstanding Forward Award to Connor Roth and Tom Fingler. Courtesy photo

Most Outstanding Forward presented to Connor Roth and Tom Fingler

  • The most outstanding forward award is another new award that recognizes outstanding production for the team from the forward position.   This year we have two young man that we felt were deserving,
  • The first played his minor hockey in Nepean growing up where he was a stand out point producer for their AA program and whom I acquired in a trade from Metcalfe this season and recorded 47 pts in 23 games playing for our team with another 25 pts in 18 playoffs games.
  • Roth went on to play in Embrun for the Panthers winning an NCJHL Championship in 2017, and in my opinion was their best forward during that playoff run.
  • I told this player that if he would give our club a shot, that he would enjoy playing hockey again, something that he confirmed with me as the season went on, and something that we should be proud of because it reflects on our organization.
  • The second player is a local kid who started minor hockey in North Dundas before going on to play for the Upper Canada Cyclones AAA program.
  • Fingler was protected by the Brockville Braves of the CCHL, and made his junior debut as a 16 year old with the Winchester Hawks, while eventually moving on to a full-time position with Brockville and Kanata of the CCHL.
  • He called me before Christmas while he was playing for RMC in CIS hockey league and asked if I would mind if he came home to play for the Rockets.  Of course I played it cool, and said I would have to talk it over with the coaches, and that I think I had a spot for him … meanwhile what he didn’t know was that internally I was doing cartwheels and laughing with anticipation.
  • This player went on to record 31 pts in 17 regular season games with an additional 23 pts in the playoffs including two game-winning goals; one of the best on-ice leaders I have had the opportunity to work with — a guy that I would follow on the ice without any questions.

Bryden van Kessel collects the Playoff MVP award from Simon Buma of Burmania Farms. Courtesy photo

Playoff MVP presented to Bryden van Kessel

  • The Playoff MVP Award is given to a player is deemed most valuable to his team in the playoffs.   This year we had one player who travelled extraordinary distances to be home to play, and was a guy that we failed to win playoffs games without.
  • I don’t know anybody that would travel eight to nine hours every week, twice a week for two months to play hockey.   This guy did it because he was a leader, he cared, and to put it bluntly, he wanted to win that bad.
  • Bryden van Kessel led our club in scoring throughout the playoffs with 26pts in 16 games including 3 PPg, 2 SHG and 3 Game winning goals.

Lenard Mclean (second from left) and Nik Paas collect the NCJHL Coaches of the Year Award from the team’s Kent Young (left) and Ken Byers (right). Courtesy photo

NCJHL Awards

League Awards were also handed out during the banquet — with Bryden van Kessel similarly capturing the NCJHL Awards as League MVP and Top Defenseman.

Justin Lefebvre was recognized as NCJHL Rookie of the Year.

Nik Paas and Lenard McLean collected the NCJHL Coaches of the Year Award, while Rob Sadler was NCJHL Executive of the Year.

The NCJHL’s Executive of the Year, Robyn Sadler (left) poses with the Rockets’ Duane Young. Courtesy photo

Graduating players

Overaged players graduating this season which were presented with gifts from Forever Young Creations.

Shawn Simms

  • A local hockey product that played his minor hockey in North Dundas, he also played three years in Winchester for the Hawks and two and a half seasons with the Rockets.
  • Over the course of his time with our team, he played 75 games with the Rockets recording 54 goals, 53 assists for 108pts, averaging 1.43 pts per game and finishing his career fourth all-time in team scoring.
  • Shawn was a leader on our team and a player I had to opportunity to coach in Winchester and with the Rockets,  we would like to thank him and his family for his dedication, and we will certainly miss him next year

Chris Marchand

  • I’ve already given you a little background on Marchand, during his time with the Rockets he played a total of 40 games recording 28 goals, 24 assists totalling 54 pts good enough for 14th on the All time Rockets scoring list which is impressive considering the number of games played.
  • We wish Chris all the best moving forward and will miss him next season.

Jason Buma

  • Another local product of North Dundas Minor Hockey before playing in the Upper Canada Cyclones AAA program, Jason was drafted by the Smiths Falls Bears of the CCHL in the 4th round out of midget.
  • He came back to the Rockets last year and the solidifying piece we needed In nets to become a high end team in the NCJHL.    The most reliable goaltender I can remember, a work horse with 36 wins in 71 career games and 4047 minutes played over the course of his career and a GAA of 4.37.
  • We will definitely miss Jason between the nets next season, its rare you get a high end local talent like Jason to backstop your local junior team.  It has been a pleasure having you on the team and thank you.

Bryden van Kessel

  • Ascending the stage many times that evening, he will retire as the Rockets all-time leading scorer with 56 goals, 94 assists and 150 pts in 60 career games.  A two-time league and team MVP, two-time League and team top Defenseman and the pillar of this team for the past two seasons,  it is also my pleasure to announce that the Rockets will be retiring the number 24 at the first home game next season making Bryden the last player to wear this number for the rest of the teams existence. Congratulations, Bryden, on a great career, and thank you for your hard work and dedication.




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