Essex Free Press
by Fred Groves
When you are the best team in the Great Lakes Junior ¡®C¡¯ Hockey League and make it to the provincial semi-finals, it¡¯s pretty hard to pick your top performers.
Last Tuesday, May 8, the Essex 73¡äs handed out the hardware at their annual team awards banquet and it was veteran defenceman Kevin Boggs taking home the top honor.
Boggs, an assistant captain, is this year¡¯s recipient of the Glen Ivancic Memorial Award as the team¡¯s Most Valuable Player. Scoring four goals and 29 points, Boggs also took home the Ricky Speedy Chapman Award as the team¡¯s best blueliner.
The night was filled with emotion as captain and five year veteran Sean Ducharme, Dan Bacon and Brian Hamlin all have graduated. Bacon won the Coaches Award and Hamlin¡¯s 56 points had him take home the leading scorer trophy.
Ducharme, who had an outstanding post-season, thanked both the coaching staff and gave a special thank you to Mr. 73¡äs Frank Matthys.
¡°I want to thank you for all your dedication. It¡¯s been an honor and a privilege to meet you,¡± said Ducharme to Matthys.
Essex finished first overall in the league standings, knocked off Kingsville, Dresden and Belle River, before bowing to the eventual OHA champions, Grimsby.
¡°With you guys behind the bench, I know the Schmalz Cup will be back where it belongs,¡± said Ducharme of the rookie coaching staff.
While it was supposed to be a regrouping year for the 73¡äs, Coach Gil Langlois and GM Scott Miller put all the pieces together and had the right combinations in place that could see the locals be successful for at least a few more years.
¡°I think Gil and his staff did a wonderful job. They made my job awfully easy,¡± said Miller. ¡°We went through practice after practice trying to fill holes and before we knew it, we were on a 17-game winning streak.¡±
Other award winners on the night were ¨C Daniel McIntyre and Adam Dunmore, League Bursary; Zack Miletic, Frank Matthys Award for Most Dedicated; Cory Beaulieau, Ed Chevalier Award for Most Consistent; Adam Dunmore, Wayne Crowder Award for Most Sportsmanlike; Scott Bromley and Matthew Hebert, Tom Hennan Memorial Award for Rookie-of-the-Year; Chad Hedrick, Bob LaBrash Memorial Award for Most Improved; Taylor Speed for MVP Playoffs.
¡°It was one of my more enjoyable seasons,¡± said Langlois.
Ducharme also thanked rookies Rio Anzolin and Mac Laforest for helping ease the tension during the sometimes pressure filled playoffs.
Past President Kris Wojnorowski and the entire executive thanked the volunteers, coaching staff and support staff, noting there are 41 people who work behind the scenes. They help raise $130,000 to keep the team on the ice.
¡°That¡¯s what it takes to run a number one Junior ¡®C¡¯ hockey team in Ontario,¡± he said.
SLAPSHOTS: Spring camp is May 29-30¡Golf tournament is June 23¡Adam Dunmore was not at the awards night as he is in South Africa. The pre-med student is part of a humanitarian aid program¡Former 73¡äs standout Cam Crowder is now on the coaching staff of the LaSalle Junior ¡®B¡¯ Vipers.