Plenty of sto­ries, and lots of laughs as Jacks wrap up sea­son with ban­quet

Hard­ware doled out, in­clud­ing MVP Alex Ut­t­ley’s tro­phy as the lead­ing scorer; grad­u­at­ing play­ers get a send­off

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - WHIT­NEY NEIL­SON

THE 2016-17 WELLES­LEY APPLEJACKS gath­ered for the fi­nal time last week­end for their an­nual awards ban­quet, where they doled out tro­phies and shared sto­ries about the grad­u­at­ing play­ers.

Kevin Klei­hauer served as em­cee for the awards por­tion of the evening.

“We may or may not be the largest vil­lage in the loop. We may or may not have the most spon­sor­ship in the loop from the dol­lars per­spec­tive, but you guys can bet, when it comes to heart, when it comes to horse­power sup­port­ing this team, we’ve got it,” Klei­hauer said.

The coach­ing staff and the ex­ec­u­tive handed out nine awards to eight play­ers.

Alex Ut­t­ley re­ceived the lead­ing scorer award with 75 points for the 2016-17 sea­son. He also tal­lied an­other 20 points in the play­offs. He was also named team MVP.

Team cap­tain Cal Jef­feries was given the Don Green Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for be­ing the most sports­man­like player. He was pre­sented it by as­sis­tant coach Ted Jef­feries.

Don Green was an avid sports­man in Welles­ley be­fore he passed away af­ter a car ac­ci­dent on Aug. 28, 1984.

The Coach’s Award went to Bren­den Goran for the sec­ond year in a row.

Brady Ger­ber earned the Martin No­vack Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for be­ing the un­sung player of the sea­son. Martin No­vack played with the Welles­ley Applejacks from 1995 to 1997 and was killed in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent in 1997.

The S.J. Camp­bell Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for the most im­proved player of the sea­son went to Greg Hu­ber. Steve Camp­bell played base­ball and hockey in Welles­ley and was the prin­ci­pal of Welles­ley Pub­lic School. He passed away while play­ing broomball in 1979.

Spencer Brick re­ceived the Welles­ley Ap­ple Prod­ucts Tro­phy for be­ing named the Most Valu­able Lo­cal Player. The tro­phy was do­nated by Ralph Yantzi, Welles­ley Cider Mill’s owner. He passed away in 1992.

The John Ig­ley Me­mo­rial Tro­phy went to Nick Mercier as the Most Valu­able De­fense­man Award.

The Rookie of the Year went to Jor­dan Hoek­stra.

“What a hell of an im­pres­sive cam­paign,” Klei­hauer said of Hoek­stra’s first year with the Jacks, where he earned 31 goals and 32 as­sists in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

The Jacks fin­ished the sea­son in third place with a 24-14-2 record. They fell in the semi-fi­nals of play­offs to Paris, who went on to lose to Ayr.

“The Sch­malz Cup is one of the tough­est ju­nior tro­phies to win, it re­ally is,” said head coach Brad Ger­ber.

“There’s 63 ju­nior C teams in On­tario. When you com­pare that to 27 ju­nior B teams, 22 ju­nior A tier teams, the Sch­malz Cup is tough,” Ger­ber said.

He said they’re look­ing for­ward to next year with a core group re­turn­ing.

As­sis­tant equip­ment man­ager Rick Gre­bin­ski shared some se­ri­ous – but mostly hu­mor­ous – sto­ries about the grad­u­at­ing play­ers be­fore wrap­ping up the evening.

“You see them come in as young teenagers, ner­vous, shy, won­der­ing if they’re go­ing to fit in. They get that first sea­son un­der their belt and they start build­ing con­fi­dence, be­come a lit­tle more outgo- ing and gre­gar­i­ous. By the third year they’re be­com­ing the lead­ers of to­mor­row, play­ing pranks, caus­ing mi­nor is­sues, they start test­ing the bound­aries,” Gre­bin­ski said.

The four grad­u­at­ing play­ers – Cal Jef­feries, Bren­den Goran, Sean McEwan and Nick Palmer – each re­ceived a jer­sey with their name and num­ber and a plaque.

“Nick is a leg­end in his own mind, I mean his own right. Over the last sea­son and a half he’s played the least amount of games of the reg­u­lar play­ers, but has the most penalty min­utes.”

“It was al­ways the ref’s fault and in no way due to his loosely un­hinged yap,” Gre­bin­ski said to laugh­ter from the play­ers and par­ents.

Gre­bin­ski re­mem­bers meet­ing Goran at a try­out two years ago.

“I went over to the stall and said ‘is there any­thing you need, sir?’” Gre­bin­ski said, to more laugh­ter.

He notes Goran is one of those play­ers who at­tends all of the Jacks’ ac­tiv­i­ties. He re­called how at last year’s golf tour­na­ment, Goran’s golf cart mal­func­tioned and he and Ryan Porter ended up in the la­goon. The mar­shals were so con­cerned that they had him sit out the rest of the tour­na­ment due to pos­si­ble in­jury.

“Bren­den looks tough, walks tough, talks tough on the ice. But off the ice, he’s the sweet­est, big­gest teddy bear in our or­ga­ni­za­tion. What he did for the Teddy Bear Toss was an in­cred­i­ble act put for­ward by an in­cred­i­ble young man.”

Goran raised $810 for a lo­cal chil­dren’s char­ity in con­junc­tion with the Teddy Bear Toss.

McEwan was noted as a player who comes to the rink, does his job and goes on his way, never ask­ing for much.

“Sean was part of one of the best line com­bos to come around in a long time. He and Cal worked their magic many a night to lead the Jacks to vic­tory on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions.”

And last but not least, Gre­bin­ski rem­i­nisced on Jef­feries’ four years with the Jacks.

“A is for ar­gu­men­ta­tive, B is for bel­liger­ent, C is for con­sis­tently ar­gu­men­ta­tive, D is for down­right bel­liger­ent. I think you see where this is go­ing,” Gre­bin­ski said.

The equip­ment staff would put out snacks for the play­ers be­fore the game, which Jef­feries was no­to­ri­ous for tak­ing ad­van­tage of. Gre­bin­ski said when caught with pock­ets full of snack bars and bot­tles of wa­ter, you al­ways got the same re­sponse – ‘what?’’’

But in all se­ri­ous­ness, “Cal had four very pro­duc­tive years in Welles­ley. He made cap­tain for the fi­nal year, fill­ing the role very ad­mirably. We’re all very for­tu­nate to have you Cal.”

The Welles­ley Applejacks’ spring prospects camp runs May 27 at the Wil­mot Recreation Cen­tre.

[WHIT­NEY NEIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

The Welles­ley Applejacks cel­e­brated their 2016-17 sea­son on Apr. 7 with their an­nual awards ban­quet. From left: Cal Jef­feries, Ryan Her­gott, Nick Mercier, Bren­den Goran, Brady Ger­ber, Spencer Brick, Jor­dan Hoek­stra, Alex Ut­t­ley and Greg Hu­ber.

Grad­u­at­ing play­ers Cal Jef­feries, Bren­den Goran, Nick Palmer and Sean McEwan re­ceived Cap­tain Cal Jef­feries re­ceived the Don Green Me­mo­rial Tro­phy for be­ing the most com­mem­o­ra­tive jer­seys with their names and num­bers. sports­man­like player. It was pre­sented by as­sis­tant coach Ted Jef­feries.

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