Tribute to the 2015/16 Graduating Pontiacs

Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs, Rick Swan would like acknowledge the graduating Pontiacs players that will be moving on from the AJHL. On Friday evening Coach Swan addressed the group of seven young men who have graduated the Pontiac program this season.

“Recognized by NCAA scholarship, by the Alberta Junior Hockey League, by the world, by our organization and by our community, the Bonnyville Pontiacs graduating players are incredible leaders,” says Swan, “they are respected, they are passionate about the game, they are dedicated and most importantly, they are great people.”

Swan says the team’s veterans displayed great leadership in the 2015-16 season and lived in the moment; a lesson he hopes to younger generation of Pontiac players will learn from. “To the players who remain, never take your time as a junior hockey player for granted. There are so many players around North America who wish they could be in your position; athletes who aren’t lucky enough to call themselves ‘PONTIACS.'” The key, explains Swan is to remain grateful, “appreciate every practice, every game and every workout.. The end of your junior career comes a lot sooner than you think.”

Love the game so much that you set an amazing example to pass that passion on to the next PONTIAC who witnesses your dedication. Your work ethic. And your leadership! Then that PONTIAC will continue our culture in the direction of success that has been established. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontaics

“That is what being a veteran all is about,” Swan named each graduating player and wanted to highlight each of their success, individually and what they brought to the team. “Steenn, Bobby, Kyler, Brinson, Olivier,  Bryan, and Ben. I want to congratulate you all for being such great Bonnyville Pontiacs players as well as citizens to our community, and most of all, good people who I know will go on to become great men.”

Graduating Pontiacs

  • Steenn PASICHNUK
  • Bobby MCMANN
  • Kyler HEHN
  • Brinson PASICHNUK
  • Olivier CHAREST
  • Bryan GERSTENFELD
  • Ben MACK

Coach Swan had a special message to the young men, “as your coach, I am grateful to you all for providing a foundation of motivated and dependable pillars for the team. You have driven our culture to continue to grow in the right direction with pride. Collectively you are a group that I will remember for a long, long time. It has been a pleasure to watch you grow together as individuals and as a group. While we will hope to fill the gaps that you all will leave, it will be impossible to replace such a unique collection of talent, wit, passion, character and leadership. It’s been a privilege and an honor to have you all a part our program. You’ve been role models for our organization and mentors for our younger players.”

The work ethic and class you exhibited as a PONTIAC will find you also achieving excellence as you move on towards the next stage of your hockey and academic careers. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs

“I am most appreciative of observing you all turn a culture of positive mental attitude into a lifestyle,” Coach Swan addressed the group, “you have allowed us to take our program to places that no one else thought was possible. You have changed the mindset that ‘just being good, is no longer good enough.'” Like many coaches, Swan had gained great insight into life and will carry lessons he learned from the players the rest of his life. “I have seen you feel the exhilaration of winning big games and scoring huge goals at the end of a game to win… to the disappointment of leaving championship hopes just falling short. You are a part of franchise record breaking seasons whose memories will carry with you for the rest of your live and you should be extremely proud of that accomplishment.”

“In the end, I hope you understand that winning and losing are a part of the journey but what matters most are those people in the organization around you: the loyal fans, the generous sponsors, your teammates that you battled so hard with, your supportive families, and of course the journey you participated in during your time as a Bonnyville Pontiac. I hope that you all experienced the importance of putting others’ needs before your own and I hope you will remember that the process and the great relationships that you developed are infinitely more important than the outcome.”

As you grow older, I want you to look back on your time as a Bonnyville PONTIAC as having had a significant impact on how you tackle life’s challenges;… on how you handle setbacks and successes; on how to compete ethically and fairly. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs

“Use the lessons you have learned wisely and confidently. When John D. Rockefeller (the richest person in U.S. history) was asked how much money was enough, his response was simply, “One more dollar.”  Money, grades, jobs, titles, championships and awards will never completely satisfy you and are not bad in themselves, but I am hopeful that you have learned as a Pontiac that the most important things in life are directly related back to serving others, by being a good person and treating those around you the right way.”

Swan says being a Pontiac alumni is a special gift, “now that you are alumni, I encourage each of you to seek out your passions and pursuits that are bigger than yourself. I challenge you to pursue your future endeavors with the best of your God-given abilities and without compromise. Our organization is so proud of what you have accomplished and even prouder of whom you have become. You are leaving as men and your legacy will stay with our program.”

 

You will always be a part of the great culture and the legacy we have established together in creating Bonnyville as the best place to play junior hockey in the country. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs

“On behalf of the Bonnyville PONTIACS organization I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for an incredible ride. You will be missed, and remember that you will always be a PONTIAC!”

 

*Photo Credit @bpontiacsjra on Instagram

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