The Lakeland Panthers AA program put a bow on their 2021-22 season last Tuesday night.
At the Glendon Hall, the U11, U13, U15, and U18 clubs handed out their season awards. Teams featured players from across the region, including Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Glendon, Lac La Biche, Plamondon, St. Paul, Myrnam, Ashmont, Elk Point, and St. Vincent.
Former Panthers and pro hockey player Jon Kalinski shared an inspirational message to the young athletes in attendance, detailing his path from the then Northeast Panthers to Mankato (Minnesota State University) to 22 games with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was also part of a championship Norfolk Admirals team in 2011-12 in the American Hockey League.
Bonnyville Minor Hockey president Terry Rupp spoke about the culture that the Panthers program has grown over the years, and been able to advance hockey players to the next levels, before handing out the first ever Lakeland Panthers Award of Excellence.
Selected for the first ever award was U15 coach Ryan Blocha, who beginning next season, will take over the U18 Lloyd Inland Steel Bobcats AAA for 2022-23.
The U15 team made their way to the Provincial championships this season after winning their division and defeating Whitecourt in a best-of-three final. Although the team went winless at Provincials in Beaumont, the club had an impressive 26-4-2 regular season record.
The U13s came within a goal of Provincials as well, but had their season end against Fort McMurray. Each team was tied for first in the “Black” division during the regular season. During the season, these Panthers were convincing winners of the CAC North/South Invitational going 6-0 at the tournament.
The U18s finished tied for second in their division, their highest divisional finish since the 2012-13 season. Illness and COVID heavily impacted the home stretch of their season. In the semifinals of the final tournament, the team went up against first place Wainwright
Meanwhile, the U11s collected a 13-8-3 record and the bronze banner in the league finals. Earlier in the season, they took home gold at the Spring on Ice Invitational.
- Brady LaFrance – Best Teammate
- Hudson Machney – Defensive Forward
- Easton Fox – Top Scorer & Top Forward
- Reid Mahe – Top Defenceman
- Thomas Philipchuk – Top Goaltender & Most Valuable Player
- Kyle Welsh – Best Teammate
- Cohen Roche – Defensive Forward
- Logan Cooper – Most Improved
- Kale Breton – Top Scorer
- Jaxon Skarsen – Top Defenceman
- Will LaFrance – Top Goaltender
- Gavin Harrison – Top Forward & Most Valuable Player
- Grady Ross – Best Teammate
- Darius Whitford – Defensive Forward
- Mikhylo Oszust – Most Improved
- Tayton Flett – Top Scorer, Top Forward
- Ryder Farrer – Top Defenceman
- Hayden Rinas – Top Goalie
- Nate Grinevitch – MVP
- Jamal Fayad – Best Teammate
- Jordon Barrett – Defensive Forward
- Bryce Harrison – Most Improved Award
- Konnor Poitras – Top Forward
- Jarrett Boulianne – Top Scorer
- Colton Lacoursiere – Top Defenceman
- Joshua Martin – Top Goalie & Most Valuable Player