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Players of the Year

RBC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

CARSON ALBRECHT, MELFORT MUSTANGS
The SJHL has named Melfort Mustangs forward (and captain) Carson Albrecht as the RBC Player Of The Year.

The 1998 born forward from Martensville has been an extremely consistent performer all year long and has a leg up on finishing second in the SJHL scoring race.

Albrecht, who recently committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (NCAA) for this Fall, had points in 16 of 18 games during the second half of the season as the year hit the final few games.

He’s had 11 games in which he scored three points or more in a single game, including a 1-goal, 4-assist effort against Humboldt in mid-December.

Albrecht is also one of the team’s top penalty killers and his distaste for losing and being scored on is what drives him to excel in areas that don’t always show up on the scoresheet.

Albrecht’s performance off the ice is as impressive as the one on the ice. “Carson is a respectful person. I haven’t heard a negative word in three years,” says bench boss Trevor Blevins. “He volunteers at school twice a week, helps minor hockey twice a week. When there is an organization in town needing help, Carson is the first to raise his hand. Right from day one when he arrived here three years ago, he’s been a leader. You watch him play and he does exactly what you are supposed to do each and every day. He’s in the gym, he is looked up to by his peers in hard situations and is counted on by everybody. He’s what a captain should be.”

Congratulations to the RBC Player Of The Year, Carson Albrecht of the Melfort Mustangs.

SGEU MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

JUSTIN BALL, MELFORT MUSTANGS
The SJHL has named Melfort Mustangs forward Justin Ball as SGEU Most Valuable Player of the Year.

The 1998 born forward from Saskatoon led the SJHL in scoring almost wire to wire with his highlight being a 33 game point scoring streak from September 20th until December 22nd. As of February 26th, Ball had only been blanked on the scoresheet four times in 54 games played.

Ball had a hat trick in the first game of the year against Notre Dame and also had a four goal game against Humboldt in mid-December. He scored goals in 13 straight games from November 13th until December 15th and he is the first SJHL player to score 50 goals in a season since Travis Eggum scored 58 in 2010-11. He’s the first Melfort player to get 50 since Garett Cameron on 2002-03.

As further evidence of his consistency, Ball was named the SJHL Player Of The Month in November and December. He was the runner-up for the award in September/October and it would appear as though he has an opportunity to secure the award for February as well.

Mustangs Head Coach Trevor Blevins says Ball’s offensive skillset is self explanatory but adds his defensive game is also at an elite level. “He’s a true 200 foot player. We use him in all situations, including our penalty kill as well as our powerplay. I think his commitment to the smaller details is what sets him apart from other highly skilled players.”

Congratulations to the SGEU Most Valuable Player for 2018-19, Justin Ball of the Melfort Mustangs.

SJHL TOP DEFENSEMAN

CODY SPAGRUD, BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS
The SJHL’s Top Defenseman this year goes to Battlefords North Stars captain Cody Spagrud. The 20-year-old from Gull Lake, SK is about to finish his fourth full season of duty with the Stars, and he’s been consistent from day one, registering 20 or more points in all of those four campaigns. This season was by far his most productive, as he doubled his previous career-high with 10-goals, and had 41-points at the end of February, fourth most among SJHL defensemen in both categories. First year Stars’ Coach & GM Brayden Klimosko calls Spagrud a rookie coach’s dream.

“He plays big minutes for us against the other team’s best guys, and plays in all situations. Off the ice he’s respected in the locker room and in the community. He’s our most consistent player, never takes a night off.”

Klimosko was an Assistant Coach in Humboldt when Spagrud broke into the league as a 17-year-old, and while he was behind veterans like Connor Sych, Kendall Fransoo and Levi Kleiboer on the depth chart his first couple years, he strengthened the group as a whole and has elevated his game as the Stars’ clear number one defenseman in his 20-year-old season.

“I saw at 17 that he was going to be a great player in this league,” said Klimosko. “The North Stars have been so fortunate to have some great defensemen these last few years. Cody has really become a mix of all of them. He has the shutdown aspect of a Sych, the leadership qualities of Fransoo this year he really added some offensive flash like Kleiboer.”

Spagrud played 214 regular season games as a North Star, helping them to a Canalta Cup in 2016-2017.

SASKTEL TOP GOALTENDER

JUSTEN CLOSE, KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS
The SJHL has named Kindersley Klippers netminder Justen Close as the SaskTel Goaltender Of The Year.

The 1998 born Kindersley product shared the award with Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs a year ago and just narrowly edged Hobbs this time to make it two years in a row he’s had his name engraved on the plaque.

Close has three shutouts and has had nine other games in which he allowed just one goal. He’s allowed more than three goals in a game only four times in 38 appearances.

Close is ultra competitive and his ability to stay focused and always stay on his game are a couple of reasons why he’s found himself near the top of all major statistical categories for SJHL goalies.

“He’s so athletic,” says Klippers coach Clayton Jardine. “He has a great mindset and never gets rattled. Everyone can see how well he plays the puck too. He’s flexible and moves quickly and knows how to use his frame to fill up the net. He’s mature and his character is off the wall.”

Close also recently committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA) and is the first known Saskatchewan born and trained player to be recruited by the Gophers in recent memory, maybe ever. In fact, only four other Canadian players have played with the Gophers in the last 35 years.

Congratulations to the Sasktel Goaltender Of The Year, Justen Close of the Kindersley Klippers.

DIRECTWEST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

LUKE SPADAFORA, MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES
Luke Spadafora is the SJHL’s Directwest Rookie Of The Year in 2018-2019. The Calgary, AB product started the year in Humboldt, where he had just under a point-per-game clip with the Broncos (17-3-11-14) before he was involved in a key early-season deal with the Melville Millionaires, with Logan Foster heading back the other way. Both players have fit in well with their new teams and have had similar stats. Spadafora has turned heads as a rookie, having a great showing at the SJHL/MJHL Showcase in Regina in January. He joined the Millionaires around the same time as interim Coach & GM Kyle Adams arrived on the scene.

“He’s been huge for us. Putting him on our top line with Josh Borynec and Damian Bentz, you can just see the type of skill he has as a player. He’s a natural goal scorer, can also make plays, he’s an all-around guy who’s going to get on the scoresheet, and help you get over the hump and sometimes win some games for you by himself.”

Spadafora became more of a goal scorer in Melville, racking up 13-goals and 28-points in his first 35-games as a Millionaire, and 41-points, including 16-goals in 52 games total. At the end of February he was tied with Borynec for the team-lead in points, and trying to will his club toward the final playoff spot position, a spot they’re battling for with Weyburn down the stretch.

SJHL TOP SCORER

JUSTIN BALL, MELFORT MUSTANGS

CANALTA HOTELS COACH OF THE YEAR

CLAYTON JARDINE, KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS
The Canalta Hotels Coach Of The Year is rookie bench boss Clayton Jardine of the Kindersley Klippers.

The Lacombe AB native was hired by the Klippers in late May 2018 as the club’s new Coach/General Manager and he has proceeded to lead the team to the division lead for much of the season in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division.

Jardine, who will be 28 years old by the end of the season, spent time with the Klippers in 2015-16 as an assistant coach and then went for two years as the assistant at New England College (NCAA Div III).

Nipawin head coach Doug Johnson says Jardine, “Clayton’s team works hard and they are structurally sound. He has his guys playing hard and buying into a team first attitude.”

Estevan’s Chris Lewgood adds, “The Klippers are a team who are structured with a game plan that suits their personnel very well. It speaks to their coaching when, as an opposing coach, you can easily identify their X’s and O’s through video when pre-scouting and yet have challenges in competing against them.”

The Klippers go into the final few games of the season with a 35-15-3-and-2 record, good for second overall in the twelve team league.

Both the powerplay and penalty kill are ranked in the top half of the league with the Klippers scoring the second most goals with the man advantage.

Defensively, the Klippers have allowed the second fewest goals in the SJHL.

Congratulations to Clayton Jardine, the 2018-19 Canalta Hotels Coach Of The Year.