Each year, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League presents seven awards for on-ice excellence: Most Valuable Player, Top Scorer, Top Defenceman, Top Goaltender, Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and Coach of the Year. Winners are named from each of the league’s four divisions prior to the start of KIJHL Playoffs, with overall league award winners named prior to the Teck Cup Finals.
- Monday, February 13 – Eddie Mountain Division
- Tuesday, February 14 – Neil Murdoch Division
- Wednesday, February 15 – Bill Ohlhausen Division
- Thursday, February 16 – Doug Birks Division
Today, we honour the award winners for the Doug Birks Division.
|Most Valuable Player
|The 5-10, 160-pound forward was second among all Doug Birks division players with 45 points in 43 games, ranking him 17th overall in the league. The Red Deer, Alberta product surpasses his offensive totals from his rookie season in goals, assists and points. Last season, Bettenson had 22 points in 38 games and added 13 in 19 playoff games to help the Grizzlies with the Teck Cup championship and then win bronze at the Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Bettenson’s 24 goals was 13th best in the league and he had 10 power-play and five game-winning goals. He was key in helping the Grizzlies finish second overall in the KIJHL and post the lowest goals against with 95. Bettenson averaged 16:42 of ice time a game, along with 4:24 on the power-play.
|With 27 goals and 26 assists in 44 games, Larsen is the top offensive player in the Doug Birks division. Larsen also had six power-play goals and four winners for the Storm. He was a key part in helping the Storm finish second in their division and averaged 18:01of ice time a game, including 3:33 on the power-play. The 18-year-old represented the Storm on Team KIJHL in the BCHC Prospects Game.
As a 17-year-old rookie, the 6-foot, 180 pound forward had eight points in 37 games and added three points in 13 Teck Cup playoff games.
|Hughes finished second among all Doug Birks division defencemen in points with 29 in 38 games. He scored five goals, two of them were winners. Hughes’ offensive totals ranked him sixth on the Eagles and he was their top producing defenceman. Hughes is an important part of the Eagles blueline which finished fifth in goals against, allowing 111 goals. Hughes played in all situations as he averaged 22:18 of ice time per game, including 3:28 on the power-play and 2:57 short-handed.
|Kuchaslo was among four goalies who finished with 16 wins this season, while playing in 21 games. Kuchaslo teamed up with Owen Albers to help the Grizzlies win their division with 30 victories. The 6-1, 180-pound goalie played 1,557 minutes, stopping 724 of 778 shots for a .931 SP and a 2.08 GAA. The Mission, B.C. product set new career highs in wins and shutouts (five). With the support of a strong team, Kuchaslo helped the Grizzlies be the toughest KIJHL club to score against as they allowed a league low 95 goals.
|Rookie of the Year
|Aura was fourth among all rookie blueliners with 24 points in 40 games, averaging .60 points per game, while playing 20:18 a night for the Storm. Twelve of Aura’s points came on the power-play including four of his six goals. Aura also had a game-winner. The Kamloops product was important to the Storm defence playing in all situations as he averaged 2:56 on the power-play and 1:53 short-handed. The 6-foot, 198-pound defenceman helped the Storm allow the second fewest goals in the league with 105. He represented the Storm on Team KIJHL in the BCHC Prospects Game.
|Most Sportsmanlike Player
100 Mile House Wranglers
|Jack Mulder spent two minutes in the penalty box for the Wranglers. You read that right. Just two minutes. The rookie from Terrace, B.C. and brother of Wranglers alumnus Quinn Mulder, was third on the Wranglers with 28 points in 44 games, to average .64 points per game. His point totals rank him 18th among all KIJHL rookies. The 18-year-old averaged 14:22 of ice time per game and also played on the special teams. Mulder had six points on the power-play, but also scored a short-handed goal and set up another.
|Coach of the Year
|In his first full season with the Eagles, Deschenes guided the team to a record of 26-15-2-1 for a third-place finish. The Eagles allowed the third fewest goals in their division with 111, which also ranked them fifth in the league. The Eagles were also one of the most offensive teams with 158 goals scored to rank them sixth. On special teams, the Eagles had the third best penalty-kill at 86.7 per cent, allowing 29 goals on 218 opportunities.