Rockets celebrate another successful season with annual Awards Banquet

Top scorer Justin Lefebvre collects his award from Duane Young of Industrial Stainless. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE —  Rockets general manager Robyn Sadler began the evening by thanking everyone for coming out  and for being a part of community run organization.

“Although we fell short of our ultimate goal this season, it is important to note that over all the 2018-2019 campaign was another success. As an organization, we got to watch a group of young men come together and face adversity as a group,” said Sadler.

The evening then proceeded with handing out awards for Most Improved Player, Leading Scorer, Most Outstanding Forward, Coaches Award, and the Peter van Kessel Sr. Award.

Justin Lefebvre, Leading Scorer

  • Two years ago, the Rockets scouted Lefebvre out of the Ottawa West Golden Knights training camp, and Sadler remembered speaking with the recipient’s father, Jeff, following one of the skating sessions; the conversation with the elder Lefebvre was simply, “We want Justin to play in North Dundas”;
  • The recipient had a successful AA career in Aylmer, Que., before coming to North Dundas, and since then has amassed 127 career points in 67 regular season games with an additional 30 pts in 28 playoff games;
  • On top of that, he was also the NCJHL Rookie of the year in 2017-2018 and was the 2018-2019 NCJHL Most Improved player;
  • Lefebvre earned this year’s North Dundas Rockets Top Scorer award with 33 goals, 41 assists for 74 pts, good enough for 4th place in league scoring this year.

William Watson, Most Improved Player 

  • Watson joined the Rockets this year after a year’s retirement following a successful Minor Hockey Career with the Ottawa West Minor Hockey Season;
  • Sadler said the recipient “instantly impressed with his attitude, skill set and work ethic”;
  • In his first season with the Rockets, he totalled 7 goals, 8 assists for 15 pts in 32 regular season games.
  • As the year progressed the Rockets organization felt that Watson continued to impact games in which he played and became a key component for the team — down the stretch as both a character dressing room personality and a strong leader and physical presence on the ice.

Tammy Sadler of the Winchester Lions Club presents the Most Improved Player Award to the Rockets’ William Watson. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Connor Roth, Most Outstanding Forward Award 

  • Roth came to the Rockets organization via trade two seasons ago and has suited up for 48 games with the team, totalling 107 pts — good for 6th in all time Rockets’ scoring history with an average of 2.23 pts per game;
  • He put up a staggering 27 goals, 33 assists for 60 pts in just 25 games played this season — landing 5th in NCJHL scoring;
  • In addition he recorded eight game-winning goals this year and averaged 2.40 pts per game.

Connor Roth collects the Outstanding Forward Award from Colleen Young of Forever Young Creations. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

 

Pierce Egan, Coaches Award

  • The coaches award goes annually to the player who carries himself with the right attitude, is very coachable, puts the team first and is a valuable member on the ice, and Pierce Egan fit the bill in 2018-19;
  • It was out of luck that Egan came to the Rockets in training camp;  a friend of his on the team called Sadler one afternoon to say he had a buddy that was pretty good and interested in maybe playing for the team;
  • Making his debut in an exhibition game against Morrisburg in Winchester, his performance earned a spot on the Rockets’ blue line;
  • During his first year as a Rocket he totalled 4 goals, 6 assists for 10 pts on the back end in 30 games played.  Of note, he recorded only one 2-minute minor all season, which is incredible for a defenseman playing the game the way Egan does;
  • Sadler says the team looks forward to having Egan having back next season.

Nik Paas (left) and Lenard Mclean present the Coaches Award to Eric Pierce. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Melissa Elliott, Pete van Kessel Sr. 

Melissa Elliott was recognized as top volunteer for her key role on game day, helping at the door and running the beer gardens in the back corner for games. She earned the Pete van Kessel Sr. award — named for the late Chesterville resident who was a founding member of Junior C hockey in the village.

“Peter was staunch supporter of Junior hockey in community and could frequently be seen at the rinks was his grandchildren play, Bryden and Jack, in the years leading up to his passing,” said Sadler. “I can honestly say, from a personal standpoint, that the arenas are a little emptier now that Pete is not there standing in the corners.”

Peter van Kessel Jr. and Pauline van Kessel present the Peter van Kessel Sr. Award to Melissa Elliott. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Dylan Robinson, Rookie of the Year

  • This year’s rookie of the year was originally a 5th round draft pick, 44th overall by the Cumberland Grads Junior A Hockey club in the CCHL 2016 draft;
  • Following two successful season with the Cumberland Grads AAA program, Robinson was originally a member of the Casselman Vikings until a high ankle sprain seemed to derail the start of the season; 
  • The Vikings misfortune proved fortunate for the Rockets as Robinson joined the North Dundas squad in December and would go on to record 16 pts in 19 regular season games;

Hugo Lusignan, Rockets Resolution Award

  • This award was created last season and is only handed out in cases where a player on our team has overcome tremendous adversity throughout a season, only to return have a major impact on the club;
  • This year’s winner started his minor hockey playing AA in Quebec before winning a championship with Papineauville Vikings. Following the sale of the Vikings franchise, the Rockets manage to obtain Lusignan in a trade prior to the season;
  • A strong physical player that knows how to win, Lusignan was derailed in a game against Metcalfe following a severe laceration to his wrist by a skate. The injury cost him most of the season, only to return after the January 10th deadline.
  • In 10 playoff games for the Rockets this season, the recipient had 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 pts and a very memorable overtime, game-winning goal against St Isidore during the first round.

Brodie Barkley, Most Sportsmanlike Player 

  • This year’s winner played the bulk of his minor Hockey with the Upper Canada Cyclones AAA and was the 14th overall pick in the 2013 CCHL Draft by the Pembroke Lumber Kings;
  • Barkley played a season in Morrisburg before moving on to play two more years in the CCHL2 for the Prescott Flyers;
  • In 2017-2018, Barkley decided to come home and play in Chesterville and has been a staple on our back end for the past two seasons;
  • This season, he recorded 17 pts in 30 games with only 10 penalty minutes;
  • Barkley, slated to be team captain next year, impresses with the strong physical element of his game.

Matthew Cowley, Top Defenseman Award

  • This years winner played the bulk of his minor hockey with the Ottawa 67’s AAA program before going 104th overall to the Cumberland Grads in the 2013 CCHL junior A draft;
  • Following minor hockey, Cowley  would join the Ottawa West Golden Knights of the CCHL 2, eventually becoming the team’s Captain before deciding to join the Rockets in 2017-2018;
  • This being his first full season with the club, Cowley recorded 6 goals, 18 assists for 24 pts in 26 games played;
  • Sadler said it was unfortunate the team’s Top Defenseman wasn’t similarly recognized by the entire league, “which I am guessing is that we had the winner of that award on our team for the past two seasons.”

Bradley Stitt, Best Defensive Forward

  • Exemplifying the defensive aspects of the game in all three zones of the ice is Bradley Stitt;
  • This year’s best defensive forward played AA for the RSL Kings,  AAA for the Upper Canada Cyclones as well as the Ottawa 67’s before he was drafted 21st overall in the 2012 CCHL Draft by the Carleton Place Canadians;
  • Stitt was also a member of the Junior B Championship Casselman Vikings in 2014-2015;
  • “This player is the type of guy you want on the ice in all situations, a fearless shot blocker killing penalties and one of the best players on the puck that I have had the privilege to have on my team,” Sadler said.

Connor Roth, Playoff MVP

  • Roth captured the Playoff MVP award for rising to the occasion throughout the playoffs, an impact player instrumental in the team’s success;
  • This year’s recipient is no stranger to Playoff success, winning a Championship with the Embrun Panthers in 2017 and with a career playoff pts total of 62 in 44 games;  
  • During his most recent run with the Rockets, Roth totalled 10 goals and 6 assists in 9 games for 16pts including 1 GWG and 3 PPG;

Brad Stitt, Regular Season MVP

  • Stitt was deemed the club’s most valuable player throughout the course of the season, a complete player who exemplifies leadership and ability;
  • This year’s recipient is a local product out of South Mountain, a winner, a 200-ft hockey player who really rose to the occasion when he accepted his role as captain with the Rockets this season;
  • With regular season point totals of 19 goals, 31 assists and 50pts, Stitt drove back 4 hours one way on the weekends in the second half of the season and playoffs to help his team try and win. ” There’s not a doubt in my mind that our captain Brad Stitt is this year’s Rockets regular season Most Valuable Player,” Sadler observed.

Overage Gift recipients

Reilly Tondreau

  • Tondreau played his minor hockey for the Ontario Wild and Upper Canada Cyclones AAA programs before being drafted 120th overall by the Nepean Raiders Junior A Club in 2012;
  • Throughout his career, Tondreau was on teams that won the OEBHL Championship, Eastern Ontario Junior B Championship, CCHL 2 Championship and the National Capital Junior Hockey League Championship;
  • In 79 NCJHL games,  he recorded 40 wins, 24 losses while playing 4671 minutes finishing with a 3.74 goals against average.

Matt Cowley

  • “A true leader, a winner and a guy that leaves everything on the ice every game he played, it’s a shame he couldn’t return for another year with us,” said Sadler of Cowley.

Connor Roth

  • Roth finishes his NCJHL Career with 196 pts in 108 games played (regular season and playoffs combined). “One of the real true talents I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the past ten years, and probably one of the guys I enjoyed watching play the most,” the general manager said of Roth, whose departure  “leaves a big offensive hole next year that we will be looking to fill.”

Brad Stitt

  • “We’d like to thank Brad for his outstanding leadership over the past two seasons,” Sadler said of Stitt. “He’s a kid I would want on my team every year if possible. There’s not much more to say than that — a point a game player with 101 pts in 92 games played and unquantifiable numbed goals saved through playing hockey the way it’s supposed to be played. Brad is irreplaceable in terms of what he brings to the rink for us.”
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