The 2018-2019 SJHL season was cut short for the Kindersley Klippers after falling to the Melfort Mustangs 4-1 in their second round series. While their early exit from the post-season is still a fresh wound for the players and coaches, they took the opportunity to spend an evening together with other members from the organization and community before turning the final page.
On Wednesday night, the Kindersley Klippers held their annual awards banquet at the Kindersley Elks Hall to celebrate individual and team accomplishments throughout the winter. In attendance at the event were the players and their families, billet families, team staff, board members, volunteers and community members.
The night was filled with reflection, laughter, and even a couple emotional moments between the crowd and speakers on stage. Head coach/general manager Clayton Jardine, assistant coach Larry Wintoneak and team trainer/equipment manager Darien Lynch all took to the stage at the hall to offer their thoughts on the year that was. Before the staff had their chance to speak to the public, the 20 year olds had their chance with the microphone as well, giving their thank you's and sharing stories from a long yet adventurous season.
Eight 1998 born players on the Klippers will be graduating from the junior program this spring:
- Justen Close (goaltender - Kindersley, SK)
- Clay Keeley (defenceman - alternate captain - Claresholm, AB)
- Blake Kleiner (defenceman - Lethbridge, AB)
- Tate Page (defenceman - Vanderhoof, BC)
- Ty Enns (forward - Cartwright, MB)
- Josh Fletcher (forward - alternate captain - Calgary, AB)
- Nate Keeley (forward - Claresholm, AB)
- Cameron Shorrock (forward - captain - Dewinton, AB)
14 awards were given out at Wednesday night's banquet. Assistant general manager Tyler Orr, along with Jardine, Wintoneak and Lynch, presented the awards while a few audience members handed the awards to the players. Below are this year's 2018-2019 recipients for player awards:
- Community Award: Connor Karo ('99 - D)
- Most Dedicated Award: Cam Shorrock ('98 - F)
- Plus Minus Award: Clay Keeley ('98 - D)
- Hustler Award: Nate Keeley ('98 - F)
- Rookie of the Year Award: Steve Avalone ('00 - D)
- Most Improved Player Award: Kyle Bosch ('99 - F)
- Top Hitter Award: Tate Page ('98 - D)
- Scholastic Award: Brett Neumeier ('00 - D)
- Three Stars: 1st - Justen Close ('98 - G); 2nd - Kyle Bosch ('99 - F); 3rd - Austin Nault ('98 - F)
- Top Scorer Award: Ty Enns ('98 - F)
- Top Defenceman Award: Clay Keeley ('98 - D)
- Playoff MVP Award: Ty Enns ('98 - F)
- MVP Award: Justen Close ('98 - G)
- Coaches Award: Cam Shorrock ('98 - F)
This year's list of award winners was not limited to just players. The club also gave out a couple awards to members from the community who stepped up and supported the organization throughout the past few months.
Here are the winners for this year's Fan of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
- Volunteer of the Year Award: Siobhan McArthur
- Fan of the Year Award - Werner Family (Sherry and Mark)
It was a memorable season for the Klippers organization this season; a team that challenged for both the division and league pennants during the regular season. Even though the season didn't last as long as they had hoped, each player had a chance to grow this season.
For the graduating group of players, they'll now have the opportunity to take their experience from junior hockey and excel during their upcoming steps in life. For the returning crew, another season awaits them in the fall, when they'll want to come back stronger than ever before when they hit the ice in those green and white jerseys once again.