The Saanich Braves open the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs against the Westshore Wolves tonight (Feb. 18), while last Sunday, they took a few hours to honour a number of players and volunteers for their contributions to the Braves’ 2014-2015 season.
The big winner on the night was forward Jack Rachwalski, earning the Most Valuable Player Award, as well as the Iron Man Award, having played in all of the Braves’ 48 games this season.
Another double award winner was defenceman Mackenzie Valentine, who took home the Student Athlete Award as well as the Top Defenceman Award.
Goalie Brandon Ward, who led the VIJHL with 1,900 minutes played, was named the team’s Rookie of the Year. Forward Jordan Parmar took home the Most Improved Player Award. Recently acquired Nick Kean was honoured as the Braves Top Scorer, while second leading scorer Evan Horvath was selected as the team’s Unsung Hero for the season.
Ben Meek was named the winner of the Coaches Award, while recently added Liam Sproule was given the Norm Kelly Consulting Award as Top Playoff Contributor from the previous season. Meek, Sproule and captain Dayne Ellison were honoured as the Braves’ three graduating players.
The team also acknowledged the volunteers and staff who keep the team on the ice. Equipment manager Bob Hleuka was honoured with the Most Dedicated Volunteer Award.
Braves first round schedule
Game 1 vs. the Westshore Wolves is tonight (Feb. 18) at The Q Centre, 7 p.m.
Game 2 is Friday (Feb. 20) at Pearkes, 6:30 p.m. Game 3 is Sunday (Feb. 22) at The Q Centre, 5 p.m. Game 4 is Monday (Feb. 23) at Pearkes 6 p.m.
If necessary: Game 5 is Feb. 25 at The Q Centre, 7 p.m, Game 6 is Feb. 27 at Pearkes, 6:30 p.m., and Game 7 on March 1 at The Q Centre, 7 p.m.
– Christian J. Stewart is a Saanich-based communications professional and contributing editor and photographer with Independent Sports News.