Alec Zawatsky’s junior hockey career will end where he grew up, and where his minor hockey began, his hometown of Yorkton, SK. After growing up watching his father, Ed, coach the Terriers, Alec spent the bulk of his junior days in the WHL, but also in Cowichan Valley (BCHL), and Notre Dame, before landing back in Yorkton for his 20-year-old season.
“It means a lot to be back home for my last year. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins can come to every home game, and that’s the coolest part, my family being able to watch.”
Zawatsky is capping his junior career as Yorkton’s nominee for the RBC Community Ambassador Award.
“I was extremely honoured, and to be able to donate $1500 towards a local school division is incredible. I love getting out on the outdoor rink, on the ice with the kids is one of my favourite things. We also handed out flowers at the hospital to the nurses and some patients around the building. Seeing people’s reactions, brightening up their day was a really special experience.”
Alec put up 22-goals and 50-points through 47-games in his 20-year-old season with the Terriers.
Aidan Steinke, Melville Millionaires
He played 153 games over three full seasons in Melville, and 20-year-old Millionaires’ captain Aidan Steinke finished it off being nominated for Melville’s RBC Community Ambassador.
“I’m the only player on this year’s roster who’s played in Melville for the last three seasons, so being nominated for the award is a huge honour. Moving from St. Albert, AB to a small city in Saskatchewan has been really cool. I have embraced moving out here very proudly, I’ve loved playing in Melville and for the Millionaires. Every time I put on the jersey, I gave my all for my teammates and the community of Melville.”
Steinke volunteered his time at least three times per week, helping out with Melville’s IP and novice hockey teams. Any Friday the Millionaires had off, Aidan also volunteered with the Melville Sledge Dogs sled hockey team, and the hours also extended outside of the rink.
“For the last two years I’ve also participated with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Melville, and volunteered my time twice a week at Davison Elementary School, helping out with the Grade 6 class. Along with helping out at different businesses around town, myself and another teammate also raised close to $4,000 on the Millionaires’ Movember page.”
Steinke recently committed to Trinity Western University (USPORTS) for the upcoming season.
Riley Kohonick, Notre Dame Hounds
Notre Dame Hounds goaltender Riley Kohonick was named Global Ag Risk Solutions Division Goaltender of the Year in his second full season as a starter in Wilcox. Off the ice, Kohonick had yet another nomination, getting the nod as his team’s RBC Community Ambassador for this season.
“It obviously feels great. I’ve been doing things here for a while now, such as helping at practices for younger age groups here at Notre Dame, volunteering at the church and participating in events such as the Jean Vanier Swim.”
Kohonick also came up through the Hounds’ Minor Hockey system, just wrapping up his sixth season on campus at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Along with the Jean Vanier Swim for disabled youth, Kohonick also volunteered with the Hero Hockey program, Reading with Works of Mercy, the Diabetes Walk, as well as reading with numerous schools in Wilcox, Regina and surrounding areas.
There was a theme with non-playoff teams this season, and that’s that they featured some of the league’s top statistical goalies this season, and Kohonick was no exception. The Hounds came up short of the post-season but was fourth in minutes played, and had a 2.95 GAA, .920 save percentage and three shutouts.
Zach McIntyre, Humboldt Broncos
Humboldt’s nominee for the RBC Community Ambassador Award was 18-year-old Zach McIntyre. The Rhein, SK product ended up being traded to Melville around the time the nominees were released, and Humboldt Coach/GM Scott Barney admits although they received another prolific scorer in Luke Spadafora in the deal, it was not easy sending McIntyre the other way.
“Zach was a great Bronco for a couple seasons and it was disappointing that we had to move him in the trade, but that’s hockey and the business and we wish him nothing but the best. He was great for the organization off the ice as well. On Sunday’s we run a rec hockey program and he was always part of that, and Monday’s he was involved with the Special Olympics folks, he was heavily involved. He’s a great kid and has a bright future ahead of him in hockey as well.
McIntyre hit the ground running in Melville, on a younger teams with two years of junior eligibility still in front of him, but says Humboldt will always be special to him.
“I loved Humboldt with all my heart. It’s nice being closer to home now but Humboldt was such a special place. Melville’s another nice community and has a nice facility to play in. With only two graduating players I think we can be a good team and make a good push going forward!”
Click on the links below for previously selected nominees.