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 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.
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.