The Strathroy Rockets celebrated the 2016-17 season by having their annual awards banquet on Friday, March 31 at Caradoc Sands Golf Course.  Attendees included the players and their families, billeting families, staff, volunteers, the board of directors and honoured guests.

President Don Windsor, general manager/director of hockey Mike Bondy, equipment manager Lance Kellestine and captains Lucas Latina and Steve Griggs addressed the gathering.

The highlight of the event was the premiere presentation of the Joe Brooks Memorial Award.  Joe Brooks, the Rockets’ equipment manager for over 20 years, passed away earlier in the season.  His wife Kathy, daughter Stacy and son Michael were on hand for the presentation.  The entire Brooks family has been actively involved with the hockey club for over two decades.  The first recipient of the award was Max Ewart.  The award will be presented annually to the player who best exemplifies character, dedication and sportsmanship, qualities which Joe Brooks held close to his heart.

Griggs was the big winner of the night; he walked away with four major awards.  Ewart, Greg Marks and Mark Bastow each won two awards.

Griggs won the Strathroy Rumours Bar and Grill Scoring Leader Award.  He finished the regular season with 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points in 49 games beating out linemate Ewart by 3 points.  Griggs also won the Rafe Carroll Multi-Organ Retrieval and Exchange Program Most Sportsmanlike Player Award.  Griggs was whistled for only 5 minor infractions all season.  Griggs was also selected for two of the hockey clubs highest honours, the Arnold Topping Memorial Award for Inspiration and Leadership and the Sir Arthur Currie Branch 116 Strathroy Legion Most Valuable Player Award.

Besides winning the Joe Brooks Memorial Award, Ewart also picked up the Strathroy Aikido Club Fan Choice Award for Most Popular Player.

Marks won the C.I.B.C. Scholastic Award as the hockey club’s top student.  Marks was also the winner of the Jeremiah Honsberger Award for Best Plus/Minus by a Defenseman.

Bastow had the best Plus/Minus by a forward winning the Jeremiah Honsberger Award while also walking away with the Albert Dunseith Memorial Award as the Rockets’ Best Defensive Forward.

Goaltender Zack Weir accepted the Poag Jewelers Player of the Month Award for February as well as the coveted Jannet Honsberger Award as Playoff Most Valuable Player.  Poag Jewelers generously donates a lovely timepiece for the player of the month winners throughout the season.

Rocket captain Lucas Latina was the clear winner for the Strathroy Medical Clinic Award for Community Involvement.  Latina was kept busy throughout the season as a good will ambassador throughout Strathroy-Caradoc assisting with many charities, service clubs, schools and associations.

Three-year veteran Dalton Good was selected as the winner of the Strath Auto Centre Most Valuable Defenseman Award.

The Thomas H. Elliott Memorial Award for Most Improved Player was won by rookie underage forward Ty Glover.  Glover began the season as a 15-year-old with the Rockets and developed throughout the season into a reliable and dependable player.

Strathroy native Tristan Sedlak won the Strathroy District Minor Hockey Association Outstanding Minor Hockey Graduate Award.  Sedlak finished with 5 goals and 14 points appearing in all 50 Rocket games last season.  He was also one of the Rockets top faceoff performers.

Cody Schneider was the Deke Tyler Memorial Award winner for Rookie of the Year.  Schneider was one of the top rookies in the entire Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.  He tallied 22 goals and 38 points in 50 games finishing third on the team in scoring.  Schneider led all Rockets in goal scoring.

The Stan Jones Memorial Complete Hockey Player Award was collected by hard-working Spencer Allen.  The award exemplifies the top Rocket who excels in fundamentals, conditioning and strategy.

Matthew Stevens was the winner of the Mayor Mel Memorial Award.  The late Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Mel Veale was a huge supporter of the hockey club and rarely missed a game home or away.

Graduating players Griggs and Good were presented with their sweaters by Don Windsor (president), Kent Coleman (vice president) and Mike Bondy (general manager/director of hockey). The Rockets only lose two players to age leaving them with a huge core of returnees for next season.

Game day co-ordinator Hana Prokes and equipment assistant Johnny Raposa shared the Stewart Bolton Memorial Award for Volunteer of the Year while Ruth Ann Mitchell received the Michelle Flooren Fan Award and Clare Moffatt was recognized for his contributions as the Rockets coach advisor winning the Gibson Family Love of the Game Award.

The hockey club would once more like to thank all of their sponsors, volunteers, billeting families and staff for all of their support.  A huge debt of gratitude goes out to all of the tremendous support the Rockets receive from their loyal fans.  They couldn’t bring exciting GOJHL hockey to Strathroy without their support and encouragement.  Announcements will be made soon regarding the Rockets Spring Evaluation Camp.  The hockey club has many exciting events planned for over the summer including the Strathroy Rockets Golf Classic and Auction presented by Ricco Food Distributor.  The auction will be held on Thursday, July 13 and the golf classic on Friday, July 14 at Caradoc Sands Golf Course and Country Club.

Photo – The Strathroy Rockets held their annual awards banquet at Caradoc Sands on Friday, March 31.  Winners include, front kneeling, left to right, Spencer Allen, Steve Griggs.  Back row, standing, left to right, Clare Moffatt, Mark Bastow, Tristan Sedlak, Dalton Good, Lucas Latina, Matthew Stevens, Zack Weir, Greg Marks, Ty Glover, Cody Schneider. (Colleen Wiendels Photography)

David Honsberger

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