Presenting the 2014 BUSH Awards
Each year, the denizens of Burton Hockey celebrate their own with the annual Burton Hockey Awards. This week we've seen the VRH awards and tomorrow we'll reveal the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees. Today we continue our look back at the 2013 season with the awards for BUSH.
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: Darrel Voser, VRH (119 points, 1st title)
Those who have been following VRH have probably been noticing the ascension of Darrel Voser, including two straight awards the past two seasons for Most Improved Player. In 2014, the younger Voser cemented his position as Burton Hockey's top scorer. With perennial scoring champion Andrew Smart only playing half of the season, Darrel took the scoring title by twenty points over Rob Hajdu, who finished second for the second consecutive year. Seamus O'Connor was the top-placing scorer in BUSH, scoring 65 points in just 17 games skated plus eight more games in goals; he led Kellan Nishida by 14 points.
Goaltending Champion: Terryn Stenseth, BUSH (.877 save percentage, 1st title)
Remember the days when .800 was considered outstanding (the league save percentage in 2000, for example was .763)? 2014 saw the previous goaltending standards blown out of the water, with overall league save percentage rising to an amazing .832, a stunning .021 rise from the previous season and easily the best full-length season in net of all-time. The goaltenders were largely elite this year, and three goaltenders finished above .860 for the first time. Leading the way in 2014 was a wunderkind who, six years into his career, has still never been below .800 in a single session, Terryn Stenseth, edging out the legendary Bron Mach by .877-.876 with Fuller Cup hero Seamus O'Connor right behind at .868. Simply put, the best year for goaltending ever by a mile.
Ironman of the Year: TIE – Bernie Koth-Kappus, VRH (4th award); Dominik Voser, VRH (3rd award)
VRH carried the load of play in Burton Hockey this year, so it's no surprise that VRH players share this award. It's even less of a surprise that Bernie and Dom share this awards, as they have been the most consistently present players in the history of VRH. Not only did they not even miss a single VRH game, they also both played in the Fuller Cup at Burton (and won!). Darrel Voser only missed three VRH games this year to finish third. Over in BUSH, Seamus O'Connor and Kellan Nishida played in all 24 BUSH games plus the Fuller Cup, while Terryn Stenseth and K.J. O'Connor played every BUSH game.
Now we get to the awards that YOU voted on!
Organiser of the Year: Seamus O'Connor (2nd award)
Seamus is the main force keeping the hockey flame alive in Burton, and through a season full of ups-and-downs managed to still get 24 BUSH games organised this year, plus an epic Fuller Cup battle at the end of August. This award is his until further notice.
Comeback Player of the Year: Jesse Gimbel (1st award)
Runner-up: Terryn Stenseth
Jesse Gimbel is rapidly becoming one of the most interesting players in Burton Hockey history. Once a season, he emerges from the southern Albertan suburbs to show up during the hottest period of the summer and play a stunning session of hockey. His rare appearances are highly treasured because when they occur, they're effective: in 16 career games, he has 46 points and a 2.88 PPG average. If this trend continues over the next couple of years, we may see his name popping up all over the per-game section of the record book. The runner-up for this award is Terryn, who bounced back from an unremarkable 2013 to restake his claim as one of Burton Hockey's top goaltenders and dual threats.
Most Sportsmanlike Player: TOMI (1st award)
Runner-up: Ryan Bateman
The affable Japanese student known only as TOMI ended his two-year British Columbian journey with a venture into the most Canadian of pastimes, hockey. He played in the Nakusp Commercial ice league and scored two goals in the 2013 Falcons Cup, and then headed down to Burton for the first half of the 2014 roller season. Always laughing, always friendly, and a pretty good player in his own right, TOMI was a great teammate and will be missed in 2015.
Most Improved Player: Andrew Likness (1st award)
Runner-up: Nathyn McInnes
As the early 1990s cohort becomes entrenched in their twenties, it's not surprising that the top four candidates for the title of Most Improved all come from that group (Drew, Nate, Ryan Bateman, Terryn). Likness in particular emerged as one of the better all-arounders in BUSH this season and (spoilers) ended the season on the First All-Star Team.
Rookie of the Year: Mitch Hascarl
Perhaps if TOMI had been around for the second half of the season, this award might be in doubt, but Mitch Hascarl fit Burton Hockey like a glove. With tons of speed and a knack for sniping, the sky's the limit for 'Pooter'.
Dual Threat of the Year: Seamus O'Connor (6th award)
Runner-up: K.J. O'Connor
K.J. and Terryn each had their solid cases for this award and probably would have won it in any other year, but it's impossible to argue against 3.53 PPG and an .868 save percentage (including a stunning .927 in the Fuller Cup) in the same year; heights no dual threat has ever come close to acheiving. It's a shame we aren't playing more than we are because Seamus is playing the best hockey of his career right now.
Most Outstanding Defenceman: Kellan Nishida (1st award)
Runner-up: Terryn Stenseth
Defence was deemphasised this year in BUSH in favour of a face-paced, hard-charging style. Through all of this, the versatile Kellan emerged as a pretty solid choice. When Kellan played against VRH's Oliver Koth-Kappus in August's Fuller Cup, it was easy to see the parallels between the two despite the 14-year age gap. This category will be interesting to watch in the future.
Most Outstanding Goaltender: Terryn Stenseth (1st award)
Runners-up: Seamus O'Connor, K.J. O'Connor
This award could easily have been a three-way tie as BUSH's top three put up the greatest combined effort by a trio of netminders in league history (.877-.868-.858). Terryn gets the nod for his long-awaited first award.
Most Outstanding Player: Seamus O'Connor (2nd award)
Runner-up: Ryan Bateman
When you're first in scoring, first in PPG, second in goaltending, and recorder of the second-highest session save percentage in history, the Most Outstanding Player award is yours. It was a hell of year to be Seamus O'Connor. By the same token, how long he holds onto this award is another question with heir-apparent Bates getting closer every year alongside a bevy of other talent slowly taking over BUSH.
Most Valuable Player: Seamus O'Connor (4th award)
Runner-up: Terryn Stenseth
For the fouther time, Seamus O'Connor is your MVP. He never missed a game, he organised every session, he was the top skater, the leading scorer, and a top-two goaltender. A masterful season that was cut too short. Terryn, K.J., Bates, and Kellan all deserve acknowledgment in this category as well in 2014.
First All-Star Team
Ryan Bateman (2nd 1st team, 3rd overall)
Jesse Gimbel (1st 1st team, 2nd overall)
Andrew Likness (1st 1st team, 2nd overall)
Seamus O'Connor (9th 1st team, 13th overall)
Terryn Stenseth (goaltender, 2nd 1st team, 2nd overall)
Second All-Star Team
Mitch Hascarl (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
Kellan Nishida (1st 2nd team, 3rd overall)
K.J. O'Connor (6th 2nd team, 10th overall)
Seamus O'Connor (goaltender, 5th 2nd team, 14th overall)
TOMI (1st 2nd team, 1st overall)
For the second time in his career, Seamus is on the All-Star team at both skater and goaltender; he also ties Oliver Koth-Kappus for most All-Star appearances with 14. Jesse and Andrew make their First Team debuts, while both of BUSH's outstanding rookies, Mitch and TOMI, make the All-Star team roster first time out. Kellan has been on the All-Star team every year of his Burton career.
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 BUSH players who stood out from the rest. Let's make the team even bigger next year; we want all of you on this list!
Ryan Bateman (2nd award)
Mitch Hascarl (1st award)
Andrew Likness (1st award)
Nathyn McInnes (2nd award)
Kellan Nishida (2nd award)
K.J. O'Connor (4th award)
Seamus O'Connor (7th award)
Terryn Stenseth (1st award)