Presenting the 2011 Burton Hockey AwardsEach year, the denizens of Burton Hockey celebrate their own with the annual Burton Hockey Awards. This is the second year we’ve split the awards into BUSH and VRH ballots, an acknowledgement that two very different, very exciting styles of hockey are played in the two leagues. Voting-wise, this was a crazy year, with ballots going in all sorts of direction and little consensus in either league outside of a couple of awards, leading to a few tied awards as voters spread the wealth around. This was probably the most schizophrenic year in Burton history, but we still wound up with the third-most games played of all-time and the top overall goaltending average of all-time (if there’s a running thread through both league in 2011, it’s the story of fantastic goaltending). Not only are there the various awards from either league, but there are also the statistical awards for which both leagues are eligible, a look back at the awards from the Burton Championship Weekend supersession, as well as the highest honour in Burton Hockey: the Most Dedicated Team. Enough blab; let’s get to the results!
Voting schematic: 1st place=10 pts; 2nd place=7; 3rd place=5; 4th place=3; 5th place=1
Tiebreakers were not used in awards other than All-Star voting, in which save percentages were used to separate goaltenders due to the votes being identical.
Statistically-based awards, of course, are those that are don’t have to be voted on as they are inherently decided by statistics.
Scoring Champion: Andrew Smart, VRH (548 points, 1st title)
As opposed to last year’s shootout, this year was dominated by Andy Smart, who emerged as the leading scorer back in January at the third session of the year and never looked back. Not even missing a handful of sessions all year, Smart ran away from the competition and as early as April it was apparent that no one else was going to get close. Oliver Koth-Kappus, who skated more games than anyone this year, was a distant second at 372. Honourable mention to Rpb Hajdu (317), Tony Hajdu (297), and Marcus Keighron (287), especially Marcus, the closest VRHer to Smart in terms of PPG, although Smart had a handy PPG lead on all VRHers this year/. With BUSH playing less than half of the games of VRH, BUSH’s leading scorer and five-time Burton scoring champion Lee Orr only finished eighth at 219.
Goaltending Champion: Andy Kieran, BUSH (.885 save percentage, 1st title)
In a year where Ryan Bateman shocked everyone out the gate with a terrific start to his BUSH goaltending career, and Alex Elischer destroyed the Burton record book at the championship supersession, it was a surprise last-minute appearance from the 2010 BUSH Rookie of the Year in goal that turned the race for the goaltending title on its head. Fresh out of Tofino en route to Alberta, Andy Kieran returned and set new standards for a goaltender in his rookie session, actually managing to reach season eligibility standards in just one session thanks to an easy rookie record of 161 saves. Of course, honourable mention goes to Alex Elischer, who utterly ran away from the pack in terms of full-time goaltenders before shutting it down halfway through the year and finishing at .852, and Ryan Bateman, who was the leader in this category before one last goaltending appearance knocked a few points off his percentage to finish at .832.
Ironman of the Year: Dominik Voser (201 games played, 1st title)
Dom Voser nearly came back to take this title in 2010, and in 2011 he led this category the entire, missing just one VRH session and the supersession all year. Five VRHers pulled away from the pack in terms of games played this year, and Dom led them all as he was the only player to reach the 200-game mark this year. Oliver and Bernie Koth-Kappus missed just one more session apiece and Sam Lam still managed to show up to nearly every session despite a punishing university schedule. Rounding out the top five was the ever-dominant Andrew Smart. The final tally: Dom 201, Oliver 193, Bernie 193, Sam 176, Andrew 173.
Now we get to the awards that YOU voted on, starting with the eastern circuit. As mentioned above, this was a very schizophrenic year, and that goes double for BUSH. The first half of the season was dominated in large part by a talented group of rookies and under-20 young guns who took the league in an entirely new direction before fading away in the summer, when some of the old stalwarts came back to resume their posts. There were definitely two different types of ballots submitted here largely based upon what part of the season one played in, resulting in vote-splitting, especially in the revolving door that was the goaltender position.
Organiser of the Year: Lee Orr (1st award)
Runner-up: Mitchell Detta
It’s too bad this award wasn’t around before last year, because Lee would have a good handful of them by now. The only players to receive votes here (excluding one for me, and I’ve never actually organized a session in my life) were Lee and Mitchell Detta. Mitch kickstarted the season with his infusion of young talent, but Lee took over the reins once summer came along, keeping BUSH afloat into the dark days of autumn.
Comeback Player of the Year: Brad Gibson (1st award)
Runner-up: Andy Kieran; Others receiving first place votes: Chris Jackins
A handful of talented players made returns to the BUSH fold after taking most of 2010 and/or 2011 off, and leading the way was Brad Gibson. B-Rad has always been known as something of a defensive prodigy, but this season he exploded onto the scoresheet as well, and by the end of his 2011 stint was a consistent placer in the three stars. Andy Kieran was a consistent second or third choice for voters due to his stunning one-off appearance in goal, and fan favourite Chris Jackins received a first-place vote for his annual return from New South Wales to tend the McCormack crease that was his home for eight seasons.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: James Hewlitt (1st award)
Runner-up: Lyle Detta; Others receiving first place votes: Dylan Hascarl, Andrew Watson
James Hewlitt was a very apt choice for this award. Despite the generation gap, he was a fixture at nearly every BUSH session this season. Always smiling and always affable, James stuck it out through the growing pains of adjusting to roller hockey to become one of the most valuable members of the BUSH crew. Lyle Detta and Dylan Hascarl won admiration from their peers for being good sports at the supersession, and Andrew Watson is always a fun guy to be around.
Most Improved Player: James Hewlitt (1st award)
Runner-up: Terryn Stenseth; Others receiving first place votes: Andy Kieran
Normally, it’s very odd that a rookie would take home an award for Most Improved Player, but anyone who saw the difference between the Jamie Hewlitt that first took to the rink back and April and the Jamie Hewlitt that finished the season in October who agree in a heartbeat. He was a rare unanimous choice this season (the only first-place vote that he didn’t receive was his own). By the end of 2011, he had gone from the bottom of the scoresheet to the middle of the three-star podium. It will be very interesting to see how he does in 2012. Runner-up was Terryn Stenseth, who really began fulfilling his potential this year, winning multiple sessions and finishing third in all of Burton Hockey in PPG.
Rookie of the Year: Ryan Bateman
Runner-up: James Hewlitt; Others receiving first place votes: Carter Stenseth
Voters had two options: the dual-threat wunderkind 17-year-old who lit up the spring or the grizzled millwright from Ontario who became the most dependable presence in all of BUSH besides his cousin. In the end, the voters took the wunderkind. In a terrific year for rookies, Ryan Bateman was a true sensation, at one point leading both the SDF and GDF. Many times this season, he would enter the net, post something in the .840s or higher, and then head onto the rink and average 2.50 PPG. His most memorable performance was an epic goaltending duel with Alex Elischer at the supersession, ending with a stunning .925, the fourth-highest goaltending mark ever. Most of the rest of the first-place votes went to James, whose dedication to BUSH this year could not be doubted and whose level of play only got better as the season wore on.
Dual Threat of the Year: Ryan Bateman (1st award)
Runner-up: Terryn Stenseth; Others receiving first place votes: Brad Gibson
Just one fifth-place vote separated Ryan from Terryn for dual threat honours. Ryan’s mastery of both sides of the coin has already been talked about above, and Terryn – one of the leading goaltenders of all-time in Burton Hockey – had a phenomenal comeback session in goal to go with his dominant scoring this year. The dominant force in BUSH defence, Brad Gibson put up a solid sojourn in goal this year as well.
Most Outstanding Defenceman: Brad Gibson (1st award)
Runner-up: Ryan Bateman; Others receiving first place votes: Graeme Orr
The always friendly conspiracy theorist bike repairman from the Lower Mainland lived up to the hype this year, as Brad came back to BUSH better than ever. One can always question how much actual defence actually takes place at a given BUSH session, but no one can question that Brad truly brings the goods (hell, he even blocks shots, and almost no one does that in BUSH; not intentionally, anyway). Ryan took second-place votes on the majority of the ballots, another testament to his all-around quality of play, and defending d-man of the year Graeme played enough to merit first-place votes of his own as he just continues to improve with every season.
Most Outstanding Goaltender: TIE - Ryan Bateman (1st award); Andy Kieran (1st award)
Much like last year, it was a choice between the guy who played as consistently well in the revolving parade of BUSH goalies as anyone or the guy who came in, lit it up like no one else, and left. This year, you split the right vote down the middle. Can’t say I blame you.
Most Outstanding Player: Kyle Grenier (2nd award)
Runner-up: Seamus O’Connor
The only repeat winner from last year’s BUSH ballots is Kyle Grenier. Grenier cut back his appearances this year but still wound up leading all of Burton Hockey in PPG for the second straight year, leading BUSH to the Fuller Cup title, and finished second in BUSH scoring with just 50 games under his belt. As far as consistent scoring output, no one in Burton Hockey matched him. The only other first-place votes went to Seamus O’Connor, whose skating appearances this year were consistently upper echelon. Playing at the level he did this year, it’s kind of frightening to think of the damage he could have done to the scoresheet.
Most Valuable Player: Lee Orr (5th award)
Runners-up: Ryan Bateman, Kyle Grenier; Others receiving first place votes: Seamus O’Connor, Terryn Stenseth
The perennial bedrock of BUSH this comes as little surprise after Lee spent much of the summer valiantly trying to jumpstart the league. Not only were his organizational heroics recognised here, but his consistent presence was as well. From an statistical perspective, he’s had better years, but at 2.86 PPG, his good was better than most people’s great. In a season of ‘what could have been’ for BUSH, Lee Orr is what was, running away with another BUSH scoring lead. Lee kept BUSH alive, and this award is well-deserved. Behind him, the votes went in a myriad of directions, all for players who competed at very high levels this year.
First All-Star Team
Kyle Grenier (3rd 1st team, 5th overall)
Andy Kieran (goaltender, 1st 1st team, 1st overall)
Seamus O’Connor (7th 1st team, 11th overall)
Lee Orr (6th 1st team, 8th overall)
Terryn Stenseth (1st 1st team, 1st overall)
With votes all over the place this year, only Kyle and Lee were unanimous choices for the First Team. As you can probably guess with the Goalie of the Year award being split, the goalie All-Star votes were split as well. Using save percentage as the tiebreak, the honour goes to Andy. With this eleventh appearance on the year-end All-Star team, no player has been on more All-Star teams than Seamus. Both Terryn and Andy made their first All-Star appearances this year.
Second All-Star Team
Ryan Bateman (goaltender, 1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
Mitchell Detta (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
Brad Gibson (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
K.J. O’Connor (5th 2nd team, 7th overall)
Graeme Orr (2nd 2nd team, 3rd overall)
A truly chaotic year, K.J., Brad, and Graeme all received First Team votes, and Ryan not only received First Team votes as a goalie but as a skater as well, finishing one vote shy of a double appearance. Mitch Detta finally makes an All-Star appearance after six seasons of Burton Hockey. Ryan, Mitch, and Brad are all first-time All-Stars. K.J. continues to be a stalwart with seven All-Star appearances.
In 2011, Vancouver Roller Hockey stepped up to the fore and truly took the reins as the most active league of Burton Hockey with over 200 games played this past year. It was truly a season of dominant goaltending, with Alex Elischer laying waste to all comers in the first half of the season and Dom Voser truly finding his peak with a new level of consistency that has made him the prime week-in, week-out threat in the league. Skating-wise, it was a season in which Andrew Smart was far and away the top scorer, finishing in the top three every single time he played this year and leading two-thirds of all VRH sessions in scoring. Throw in the fearsome defensive prowess of Jordan Barlow and continued high-scoring from Marcus Keighron, and this season saw some truly dominant performances. Appearances so dominant, apparently, that voters couldn’t find room for them all, leading to ballots just as varied and interesting as in BUSH.
Organiser of the Year: Bernie Koth-Kappus (2nd award)
Runner-up: Andrew Smart
Once again, a pretty obvious choice. Bernie has spent the past eight years organising sessions on a near-weekly basis. This award could almost be considered his private property. The contributions of Andrew Smart when Bernie was away in Europe should not go unmentioned, however, as Andy appeared on multiple ballots.
Comeback Player of the Year: TIE – Vincent Garcia (1st award); Andrew Smart (1st award)
Others receiving first place votes: Shaylin Trotman, Steve Weatherhead
As with last year, it’s hard to choose a comeback player in VRH when the boom is so recent there. Voters ultimately split the ballot between Andrew Smart, who spent much of 2010 in Africa and Asia before returning to the Lower Mainland and dominating the 2011 season, and Vincent Garcia, who made two separate comebacks this year (one from injury; one from just being gone for no good reason) and led a session in scoring for the first time ever. Shaylin also returned from a long absence with newfound scoring powers, while Steve made a long-awaited return to Burton to help out VRH at the Fuller Cup.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Jordan Downey (2nd award)
Runner-up: Dominik Voser; Other receiving first place votes: Ryan Disterheft
It’s always hard to choose a winner in the category from VRH, simply because there are so many great nominees that it’s hard to narrow down. Once again, there was a huge pool of nominees voted for (nine this year), but last year’s winner Jordan Downey appeared in the top three on all ballots. He can’t play as often as he likes, but when he does it’s always fun. The always-game-for-anything Dom and two-time award winning Ryno deserve honourable mention.
Most Improved Player: Rob Hajdu (1st award)
Runner-up: Sam Lam
If there was a VRH player who made ‘the leap’ this year, it could very well be Rob, who at this point has to be considered one of the top four forwards in VRH if he wasn’t already. A true two-way presence with impeccable stamina, Rob found himself in the top three in Burton scoring for the first time in 2011. Sam picked some first-place votes of his own. Switching to goaltending full-time this year, Sam put a rocky start behind him and by the end of the year was regularly dropping .820-plus sessions on the Vancouver crew.
Rookie of the Year: Lars Raynard
Runner-up: Ron Richards
The only unanimously-voted award outside of the organisers was VRH Rookie of the Year. With only two rookies even making multiple appearances, Lars was a rather easy choice this season.
Dual Threat of the Year: Dominik Voser (1st award)
Runner-up: Sam Lam
While Dom kept up his prodigious goaltending appearances and had his best year ever in goal (and that says a lot about the season the all-time appearance and save leader had in net), he also became a fairly consistent two-way presence on skates in 2011; a testament to his natural athleticism. Sam also received voters’ attention going the other way; while he limited his skating appearances this year, he truly emerged as a top goalie this season.
Most Outstanding Defenceman: Jordan Barlow (2nd award)
Runner-up: Oliver Koth-Kappus
Once again, it was a Barlow-Ollie race this year. While Oliver did grab a first-place vote, the lanky Castlegar native took home his second straight d-man of the year award. Barlow’s combination of size, reach, and speed is nearly impossible to overcome on the small Ambleside surface. Free from the burden of having to match up against Pat Elischer every other series just to make the teams fair, Jordan was able to put some points on the board as well. Oliver, of course, is as steady as they come, and Brouse’s favourite palaeovore remains a highly-valued teammate on the rearguard.
Most Outstanding Goaltender: TIE - Alex Elischer (2nd award); Dominik Voser (1st award)
Voters with long memories chose Alex, who dominated the first half of season to an unheard-of degree including by far the greatest session of goaltending ever seen in a Burton Hockey session at the Fuller Cup (.927 and 280 saves in just five games). Voters who favoured season-long consistency chose Dom, who maintained an .821 save percentage over a long 155-game season in goal. And, of course, the two goalies couldn’t vote for themselves. Thus, half of the voters went for Alex, and half went for Dom.
Most Outstanding Player: Andrew Smart (1st award)
Runner-up: Marcus Keighron; Other receiving first place votes: Alex Elischer, Oliver Koth-Kappus
What looked to be a runaway win for Alex in May and a competitive spilt between Alex and Andy by July nearly wound resulting in a win by Marcus coming up the middle. In fact, just one vote point separated Andrew from Marcus, and it was only the last ballot received that swung the award from Marcus to Andrew. Andrew’s dominant presence at nearly every session was a key factor for voters, while Marcus easily led VRH in GPG this season and that resonated highly as well.
Most Valuable Player: Dominik Voser (1st award)
Runner-up: Oliver Koth-Kappus; Other receiving first place votes: Bernie Koth-Kappus
A rare year where the leading scorer did not receive a first-place vote, all but two first-place votes went to the defending MVP. The Animation of Domination was the most consistent presence in all of Burton Hockey this year, playing more games in more sessions than anyone else while also maintaining an all-star calibre of play. Burton’s most experienced goaltender is quite possibly its most dedicated player at this point. As usual, the Koth-Kappus brothers who sits at the heart and soul of Burton Hockey also picked their fair share of votes. Jordan Barlow finished third in voting behind Oliver, while Andrew Smart was fourth and Sam Lam rounded out the top five.
First All-Star Team
Jordan Barlow (2nd 1st team, 3rd overall)
Alex Elischer (goaltender, 2nd 1st team, 2nd overall)
Rob Hajdu (1st 1st team, 2nd overall)
Marcus Keighron (1st 1st team, 2nd overall)
Andrew Smart (1st 1st team, 2nd overall)
A true changing of the guard with no ex-Arrow Lakers and no Pat Elischer on the First Team. The four skating positions were all unanimous choices and represent the first First Team appearances for Rob, Marcus, and Andy. As with BUSH, the goaltending votes were split evenly with save percentage being invoked as a tiebreak, putting Alex on the First Team for both of his Burton Hockey seasons.
Second All-Star Team
Eric Coutinho (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
Tony Hajdu (2nd 2nd team, 3rd overall)
Stefan Klopp (3rd 2nd team, 10th overall)
Oliver Koth-Kappus (6th 2nd team, 10th overall)
Dominik Voser (goaltender, 2nd 2nd team, 2nd overall)
Unlike the First Team, the battle to make the Second Team was heated, with both Ryan Disterheft and Dom Voser at skater also receiving multiple votes. In the end, Dom still easily makes the team at goalie, Stefan and Oliver join Seamus, Lorne Bilinski, and Justin Gordon in the pantheon of ten-time All-Stars (a true testament to Stefan’s impact in the early part of the season before his horrific leg break), Tony joins Barlow as the VRH-bred players to be named to three All-Star teams, and Eric Coutinho receives All-Star honours for the first time.
Most Dedicated Team
The highest honour in Burton Hockey. Simply put, these are the guys who have been there playing week-in, week-out. There’s no set limit on the number of players that can be named; just the limits players put on themselves by not coming. This year, we have a group of eight players who stood out from the rest. You can see for yourselves the gap in games played these guys had on the rest of the field in their respective leagues. Let’s narrow that gap and make the team even bigger next year; we want all of you on this list!
Mitchell Detta (1st award)
James Hewlitt (1st award)
Bernie Koth-Kappus (12th award)
Oliver Koth-Kappus (10th award)
Sam Lam (2nd award)
Lee Orr (8th award)
Andrew Smart (1st award)
Dominik Voser (2nd award)
Finally, let’s not forget the honours that were handed out this May at the BUSH-VRH supersession featuring the Burton Open won by Team Bleuberry and the Fuller Cup won by BUSH.
Burton Championship Weekend All-Star Team (21-22 May 2011, Burton)
Alex Elischer (G), VRH
Kyle Grenier, BUSH
Sam Lam, VRH
K.J. O’Connor, BUSH
Andrew Smart, VRH
Most Sportsmanlike Player Lyle Detta, BUSH; Dylan Hascarl, VRH
Most Outstanding Player Alex Elischer, VRH
Most Valuable Player Alex Elischer, VRH