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Fernie Ghostriders host annual banquet, present player awards

MVP of the season was awarded to Brendan Nemes
From left, back to front: Riley Fonger, Greg Susinski, Brendan Nemes, Dylan Defosse, Jordan Kromm, Kyle Ford, Tristan Downe, Nikolas Sombrowski and Kyle Klein. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

The Fernie Ghostriders concluded their season on Friday with a banquet to celebrate the team’s achievements and honour the players and volunteers who went above and beyond.

“Great season this year guys, we’ve come a long way since previous years,” said Ghostriders President Barb Anderson.

She commended the team on their improvement of overall stats in league placement, specialty teams and points for, and against.

“A job well done by the players and coaching staff, we are all very very proud of all your accomplishments, so keep up the good work guys,” said Anderson.

Anderson also thanked head coach Jeff Wagner for his outstanding work with the team and congratulated him on being named Eddie Mountain Coach of the Year as a first-time head coach and general manager. She commended Ghostriders graduate Justin Peers, as well as newcomer Jered Neufeld, on their efforts leading the team as assistant coaches.

The coaching staff presented player awards to those Ghostriders who shone throughout the 2018/19 hockey season. Most Inspirational Player went to Tristan Downe.

“We awarded this to a guy who carries himself like a professional, on and off the ice. His interaction with his teammates, fans (and) volunteers is top notch,” said Wagner.

Sixteen-year-old Kyle Klein was named Most Improved Player.

“This is a guy who started a bit on the bubble and ended up being an everyday guy for us,” said Wagner.

Deciding Rookie Of The Year wasn’t so easy, explained Wagner. In the end, Fernie local Nikolas Sombrowski was awarded the title.

“Quite frankly, we had a lot of guys step up on their first years and become everyday guys for us,” said Wagner. “This individual is mature beyond his years, he has a hockey sense that’s also mature beyond his years. He had a couple of games up in the BCHL and had a lot of fun up there.”

Kyle Ford received the award for Most Exciting Player.

“Unfortunately, this guy was also the most exciting player off the ice, as we got into a couple of disagreements,” joked Wagner. “But he hit everything that moved, put up a ton of points – Kyle Ford.”

This is the first year the Ghostriders have given out a Top Defensive Forward award.

“We acquired a few guys this year that really stepped into a role to play other team’s top forwards. And they did a really good job of it,” said Wagner. “This is a guy who did it all year for us – and that’s Dylan Defosse.”

Top Defenseman was another tough award to decide and could have gone to several players, explained Wagner.

“This guy played in all situations, was our top point-getter as defenseman and shut guys down as well – and that’s Greg Susinski,” he said.

The next award was a no-brainer. Jordan Kromm finished the season with 54 points in 22 goals and 32 assists, and was named the team’s Top Scorer.

“This guy played in all situations for us as well; really consistent at both ends of the ice. It’s pretty easy to award it because it goes to the top scorer and that’s Jordan Kromm,” said Wagner.

“It’s almost as big as you,” he joked as he presented Kromm with the trophy.

MVP of the season was awarded to a player who dominated the ice and also placed second overall for points in the 2018/19 season.

“This is a guy who came in and learned a lot. I think this year he went from being a pretty good player to a pretty dominant player throughout the year, I think he was second on our team for scoring – Brendan Nemes,” said Wagner.

Last but not least, Wagner awarded Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

“He probably could have gotten it for the season as well,” said Wagner. “He was always there when we screwed up on the ice and backed us up – Riley Fonger.”

For a few players, this was their last year as a Ghostrider. Captain Keelan Saworski, forward David Lenzin, defenseman Brayden Dey, Downe and Nemes were presented with a jersey and watch.

The Ghostriders also thanked their many volunteers and billet families for selflessly giving up their time, and their homes, to help drive the team towards success.

The Volunteer Of The Year award was given to Ron Linkert, who is also leaving the Ghostriders after many years as goal judge. To read more about Ron, turn to Page A14.

Ron Linkert received a standing ovation as he walked to the front of the room to receive a plaque, thanking him for his years as a volunteer with the Ghostriders. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Brendan Nemes was named MVP of the 2018/19 Ghostriders season. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Phil McLachlan

About the Author: Phil McLachlan

Phil McLachlan is the editor at the Penticton Western News. He served as the reporter, and eventually editor of The Free Press newspaper in Fernie.
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