Presenting the 2012 VRH AwardsEach year, the denizens of Burton Hockey celebrate their own with the annual Burton Hockey Awards. This year, the two leagues in action were not BUSH and VRH but VRH and the new Arena League in Nakusp. While the Arena season ended back in July (you can find their awards here), the Vancouver crew powered through the fall until a rash of winter storms stopped them in their path. Voting-wise, this was another crazy year in VRH. With more players sending in ballots than ever before, you would expect some consensus to emerge. Instead, each ballot was wildly different than every other one. No one could agree on anything, and it resulted in some extremely tight races between many deserving competitors. Only three award votes were unanimous, and only ONE all-star position was unanimous. Not only are there the awards players voted on, but there are also the statistical awards for which both leagues are eligible and 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
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: Stefan Klopp, VRH (204 points, 3rd title)
For the first time ever, VRHers win back-to-back scoring titles as Fauquier ex-pat Klopp succeeds Andrew Smart as Burton scoring champion, giving the Burton Hockey original his third career scoring championship (the last coming in 2008), an amzing feat considering he missed nearly all of 2011 with a badly-broken leg. While the scoring race started out tight with Smart, Oliver Koth-Kappus, Darrel Voser, and Ryan Disterheft all taking turns at the front, by midseason Stefan had pulled away and would not look back. Koth-Kappus would finish second at 154, with Disterheft (143), Rob Hajdu (138), Smart (130), and Voser (128) also breaking the 100-point barrier. The top Arena scorer was K.J. O'Connor, who finished seventh overall at 90.
Goaltending Champion: Bron Mach, VRH (.839 save percentage, 2nd title)
The triumphant return of the legendary Mach to the Ambleside nets was one of the most welcome sights of 2012, and the Aldergrove native would not disappoint as he had the best year of his career at the age of 36, even besting the form that won him Most Outstanding Player back in 2008. Bron, Dom Voser, Stuart Hall, and the Arena's Brodie Yano were a cut above the other goalies this year. In the end, Bron would 11 points ahead of Yano to take his second career goaltending title with a career-best .839.
Ironman of the Year: Bernie Koth-Kappus (90 games played, 3rd title)
Bernie has long been the most dedicated organiser in Burton Hockey, and as such is always near the top of the games played charts. Usually, he gets usurped by brother Oliver sneaking off to BUSH for a few extra sessions in the Arrow Lakes. This year, Oliver opted not to join the Arena League, leaving the door open for Bernie to claim his first Ironman title since 2004 by just one session over Stefan Klopp (85 games) and two sessions over last year's Ironman, Dom Voser (80 games). Kellan Nishida played the most games in the Arena League at 44, while Lee Orr played 42 plus all 7 BUSH games.
Now we get to the awards that YOU voted on!
Organiser of the Year: Bernie Koth-Kappus (3rd award)
Runner-up: Ryan Disterheft, Dominik Voser, Sam Lam
As always, a pretty obvious choice. Bernie has spent the past nine years organising sessions on a near-weekly basis. This award could almost be considered his private property. Ryno, Dom, and Sam all received a second-place vote for continuing to helped recruit new players to Ambleside.
Comeback Player of the Year: Stefan Klopp (2nd award)
Runner-up: Bron Mach
Way back in 2001, Stefan Klopp was voted the first-ever Comeback Player of the Year after taking a few months off to travel. In 2012, his comeback was from something far more dangerous - a horrific accident suffered during an April 2011 Sportsplex BC roller hockey game in which a collision with another player into the boards resulted in two separate fractures of his right leg. Equipped with a titanium implant, it would take the rest of 2011 for Klopp's leg to fully heal. When he returned to VRH a year later, it only took him a couple of sessions to get his feel for the game back, and soon enough he was dominating the scoring race. It was a pretty easy decision for his fellow players this year. The runner-up was also fairly obvious: Bron Mach for his outstanding return season in VRH after taking nearly two years off with a bum knee.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Oliver Koth-Kappus (4th award)
Runner-up: Ryan Disterheft; Other receiving first place votes: Jordan Barlow, Bron Mach
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. Ten separate VRHers received votes this year, and four players received first-place votes in another tight race. Ultimately, the award was returned to the man who won it three years in a row during the mid-2000s, the always genial Oliver Koth-Kappus. As humble as he is talented, everyone enjoys sharing the rink with the all-time games played leader and soon-to-be all-time scoring champion.
Most Improved Player: Darrel Voser (1st award)
Runner-up: Rob Hajdu; Other receiving first place votes: Sam Lam, Dominik Voser
Rob Hajdu nearly pulled off the amazing feat of winning Most Improved Player two seasons in a row. However, in another incredibly close race, the award goes the a player that made the same leap this year that Rob did last year: Darrel Voser. Darrel firmly emerged out of his brother's shadow and established himself as one of VRH's most potent two-way threats.
Rookie of the Year: Nick Jornitz
Runner-up: Ian Fraser
An unanimous choice this season, Nick Jornitz emerged in the middle of the season as one of the highest-volume scorers in VRH, finishing second in points-per-game in all of Burton Hockey.
Dual Threat of the Year: TIE - Sam Lam (1st award), Dominik Voser (2nd award)
You can pretty much copy last year's caption for this award and reprint it for 2012 as Sam and Dom continue to expand out of their traditional comfort zones. These two should continue to battle over this awards in coming seasons and it's not a surprise that the first-place votes were split evenly between the two men.
Most Outstanding Defenceman: Jordan Barlow (3rd award)
Runner-up: Oliver Koth-Kappus; Other receiving first place votes: Dominik Voser; Andrew Smart
While Barlow and Ollie finished 1-2 for the third straight season, it was a much tighter race this year as voters were also eager to recognise the ever-improving Voser (who finished in the top three on every ballot) and the power-play-style quarterbacking of VRH's assist king Andy Smart. Could a changing of the guard be in store for 2013?
Most Outstanding Goaltender: TIE - Bron Mach (2nd award); Dominik Voser (2nd award)
In a replay of last year, MOG was split between voters with long memories and voters who favoured season-long consistency, Voters with long memories chose Bron and his dominance over the first half of the VRH year. Voters who favoured season-long consistency chose all-time save leader Dom, who once again had the best season of his career while playing more games in goal than anyone else. And, of course, the two goalies couldn’t vote for themselves. Thus, half of the voters went for Bron, and half went for Dom.
Most Outstanding Player: Stefan Klopp (2nd award)
Runner-up: Andrew Smart; Other receiving first place votes: Rob Hajdu, Pat Elischer, Bron Mach, Sam Lam
If one award defined the term 'lack of consensus' this season, it was Most Outstanding Player. Twelve separate players received votes, and first-place votes were spread all over the board. Ultimately, the only player named at least somewhere on every ballot was the Kloppster.
Most Valuable Player: Stefan Klopp (2nd award)
Runner-up: Dominik Voser; Other receiving first place votes: Oliver Koth-Kappus, Andrew Smart
After two years of being dominated by the Dominator, the honour of being named MVP returns to Stefan Klopp for the first time since 2008. In a year where he was the scoring champion by a fair margin and present for nearly every session, voters made him one of only two players named on every ballot (the other was Rob Hajdu).
First All-Star Team
Rob Hajdu (2nd 1st team, 3rd overall)
Stefan Klopp (7th 1st team, 11th overall)
Oliver Koth-Kappus (5th 1st team, 11th overall)
Andrew Smart (2nd 1st team, 3rd overall)
Dominik Voser (goaltender, 1st 1st team, 3rd overall)
Voters made Stefan Klopp the only unanimous First Team selection in a race so close that even a player like Darrel Voser, who received two First Team nods on the ballot, still missed both year-end teams. A stunning 15 players received All-Star votes this year. Stefan and Oliver join Seamus O'Connor as the only players to be name to 11 year-end All-Star teams, and Stefan now sits tied with Seamus and Lee Orr for second in First Team appearances with seven. Amazingly, this is Dom's first-ever First Team appearance. Rob and Andrew make back-to-back appearances on the First Team while Oliver returns for the first time since 2008.
Second All-Star Team
Jordan Barlow (2nd 2nd team, 4th overall)
Ryan Disterheft (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
Tony Hajdu (3rd 2nd team, 4th overall)
Sam Lam (1st 2nd team, 2nd overall)
Bron Mach (goaltender, 2nd 2nd team, 3rd overall)
Ryno finally cracks the year-end All-Star lineup after what was easily a career-best season in terms of playing quality. Bron returns to the All-Star lineup for the first time since 2008.
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 four 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!
Stefan Klopp (9th award)
Bernie Koth-Kappus (13th award)
Oliver Koth-Kappus (11th award)
Dominik Voser (3rd award)