The entire Penticton Vees squad was given the Most Valuable Player award at a ceremony last night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Fitting, for a team that zoomed its way through a 42-game winning streak, set a new BCHL team record for 20 playoff wins and ended the year with the RBC Cup national championship, their first in 26 years.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am that you’re bringing home the RBC Cup to British Columbia,” said Premier Christie Clark, in a video message from Tokyo. “We are so proud of what you have accomplished. Go Penticton.”
Cowbells rang as the Vees received awards but took it up a notch for the fan favourite award. Penticton-born Vees player Cody DePourcq was described as a person who plays with his heart on his sleeve and never steps down from a challenge.
The unsung hero award went to the Vees player who often scored a substantial but unrecognized goal for the team. The crowd heard how Steven Fogarty was a big part of the team not only offensively but defensively. Fogarty was used in all situations this year.
The Most Inspirational Player award went to Travis St. Denis. He was fourth in team scoring this year and played in all situations. St. Denis was struck with a bout of the flu and returned to the Vees lineup scoring points in each of the five games he dressed for during the RBC Cup. He also picked up the assist on the game-winning goal by Joey Benik in the championship final.
Benik, led the team in the regular season with 30 goals and 96 points to earn the Vees leading scorer award.
Vees award winners
Robert Skinner Courage Award : Mike Garteig and Connor Reilly
Most Improved Player Award: Chad Katunar
Vees Best Conditioned Athlete: Curtis Loik
Academic Achievement Award: Nick Buchanan
Humanitarian Of the Year: Grant Nicholson
Most Inspirational Player: Travis St. Denis
Most Sportsmanlike Award: Ryan Reilly
Vees on Vees Most Popular Award: Kyle Beaulieu
Best Defenceman Award: Mike Reilly and Troy Stecher
Playoff MVP Award: Wade Murphy and Benik.