Burton 40: Graeme Orr
Graeme Orr does not want to be on this list. He doesn't want to be on any list. He doesn't want your approval; he doesn't want your accolades; he doesn't even require your acknowledgement. To put it mildly, Graeme shuns attention. Rebukes it completely. He just wants to play (and sometimes, not even that). But that's just too bad, because he is on this list. He has no choice but to be on this list, for this list is simply incomplete without him. He's just too essential, too integral, and too good not to be.
Humble to a fault, no player has developed and evolved within Burton Hockey as dramatically as Graeme Orr. His first session was a one-off in the Burton Hall; he didn't even buy his first pair of skates and debut until 2003. Graeme had no hockey experience, but what he did have was natural athletic ability and a desire to do well at everything he does. It may take coaxing to get him to do something, but when he does it, he does it well. His progress over those first three seasons was slow but constant. There was definite potential. That potential was realised in 2006, when his skating caught up to his skill level. Graeme exploded from a token defensive backmarker to an elite two-way presence, scoring 187 points and forcing his way onto the All-Star Team. And he's never looked back.
Graeme has established himself as an excellent soft-handed two-way force who not only makes amazing plays but is defensively responsible and desired as a teammate by everyone on the rink. And when he gets on a good scoring run, he's very tough to beat. His size makes him hard to get around, and he has a deadly spin move that, while seeming awkward, helps him to avoid checks and set him off on breakaways nearly every time. Sure, he will sell his own ability short constantly (especially when it comes to organising teams when he consistently lobbies to play with whoever the best player on the rink is that day), but you can't sell him short, for Graeme delivers the goods nearly every time. A treeplanter by trade, Graeme comes back for hockey season every year in peak physical condition. And he's only getting better; in 2009, he missed half the season due to work but still set career highs in goals, points, shots, and PPG. He even led four sessions in scoring (he's the only player to ever complain about leading a session in scoring). It may take some effort to get him out of bed, but it's always worth it. He usually shuns all credit for anything he does, but he deserves that credit. If there was an all-time Most Improved Player, it would be Graeme Orr. Along with K.J. O'Connor, he represents the lead front of Burton Hockey's second generation. He's rapidly closing in on the all-time top ten in every offensive category. A true BUSH diehard and perhaps its greatest role player (no matter how much he denies it), Graeme Orr is a lock for the Burton 40.
Awards: Most Improved Player - 2006; Comeback Player of the Year - 2006; 2nd All-Star - 2006; Most Dedicated Team - 2006.
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Ben de Wit