Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
Prior to this year’s regular season finale on home ice, the Niverville Nighthawks handed out some hardware, presenting their first crop of team awards for the inaugural 2022–23 campaign.
It goes without saying that all the award winners are very deserving. You could also debate all the winners too, which shows how strong the team’s depth has been this season.
The Nighthawks’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award went to Josh Paulhus, who led the team with 61 points in 56 games.
“The Nighthawks went as John Paulhus went this year,” says Nighthawks assistant general manager Mike McAulay. “That was a unanimous vote this year. Paulhus was our engine and driver. He’s been everything that we thought we were getting when we acquired him and more. Just a terrific human being that had a fantastic season, so we’re thrilled with him and what he’s brought to this team.”
Both the Rookie Team and Outstanding First Year Performer Awards went to defenceman Carson Reed, who was exceptional on the team’s blueline with 26 points in 50 games.
“Reed’s such a complete defenceman that defends well, skates well, drives play, etc.,” says McAulay. “At no point this year did he look like a first-year player. He was also named to the MJHL’s All-Rookie Team. So his efforts were noticed league-wide for sure.”
The Nighthawks’ captain and leader, Brett Tataryn, earned the Humanitarian Award, for not only his on-ice play but his work in the community. Tataryn scored 35 points in 47 games during the regular season.
“Brett was just so deserving of that award,” McAulay says. “A great leader, great human, and fantastic hockey player too. So to balance that skill and leadership and what he brings off the ice is so valuable, and we couldn’t have picked a better captain to lead us night in and night out.”
Braden Panzer earned the Forward of the Year honours for his fantastic season, scoring 41 points in 47 games. He had a strong season, despite joining the team a little late. He actually started the year playing for the Minot Minotauros of the NAHL before being dealt to Niverville.
“Panzer has been really good for us. We knew of him before he went to Minot, so to make that deal with Minot to bring him here was huge. We knew we were getting a high-compete and highly skilled player, as he’s on pucks like no other and makes plays. Panzer is tenacious and competes so hard, and he’s been really good for us.”
Rounding out the award winners were Fran Giesbrescht, who took home Most Dedicated Volunteer, and Evan Bortis, who was named Defencemen of the Year. Lorette’s Merik Boles was the Fan Favourite, while Carter Spirig won the Coaches’ Award.