First of all I would like to thank everyone who attended our end of season party this past Saturday night, but I think some special thanks needs to be given to Rosie and Jan for organising the night. Rosie and Jan took care of the whole night and the food was amazing, my personal highlight was the photo booth and by noticing how busy it was all night I think everyone would agree. It takes a lot of effort to organise a night like that, and I don’t think it could have went any better, let’s hope they get started on next years so we can do it all over again!
As for the awards, Damon Larter won Best Defenceman and once again he led our team from the back. He has been with me since the start and not only is he one of the best d-men in the league he also is very well respected in our locker room as captain.
Alex Barker picked up a couple awards last night and for someone that was new to the club, he settled in very well and performed well enough to score the most goals in the league and win our best forward trophy.
Supporters Committee player of the year went to young Simon Hobbis, he surpassed all expectations for me this past year and with him already signed up for next year I think we will see him develop into one of the best defencemen in the league.
Yousef Abu Sada picked up player of the year and that is my favourite award given out on the night. It goes to the player that is most respected on and off the ice for our club and is voted by the players. Abu, played very well for us and sacrificed himself for the good of the team on a nightly basis by blocking shots and playing tough.
The Most Improved player award went to Kieran Annis, he won this award because of the difficult transition he made moving from forward to defence. He did an awesome job moving back to defence and sees the ice very well, I think we will see him develop even further with another season in that position.
Richard Facey won the fans Favourite award and Richard won this award for the effort and skill he puts into every shift when he has the Raiders jersey on and it’s fantastic to see him rewarded for his effort.
We at the club have a Unsung Hero award and this award isn’t necessarily given to a player and this year it was given to club secretary Heather Jepson. Her work would go unnoticed to most fans, but she may have the most difficult job of all. She is in charge of all player registrations, team travel, communication with the league and lots of other bits that come up during the course of the season. She also does a wonderful job letting me (or any other player) how many penalty points we’re on.
The last award was my Coaches Player award and this season I gave it to Nathan Taylor. Nathan has been with us a number of years and I gave him the award because he is exactly the type of person I like around my team. He does any job asked of him and that was evident in the semi-final and finals when I asked him to play a defensive role and he didn’t disappoint.
A big thanks needs to be given to our team Physio Tori, she takes great care in her job and makes sure the guys are fit each week to play. Also, our van drivers Iain and Jenny, they both give up their Sundays to drive the guys to the away games and get home late with work on Monday mornings. I’m sure after the guys have won a game and had a few beers, those rides back to the island could be pretty long.
We should also give thanks to Ady and Aiden for washing our kit each week, that’s a job that even some of the guys don’t realise gets done, but without fail our kit is always read to go each and every game.
A big thanks needs to go to Bryan and Vikki and the rest of the supporters club. The supporters club really makes the team tick and I know that they were short of members this year and still did an awesome job raising funds for the team.
I would like to thank Geoff and Steve for being such great owners, I have played for a number of owners here in the UK and back home and they are truly the best set of owners I have played for. They always put the team first and I think we form a pretty strong partnership when it comes to assembling the team each year. I have really enjoyed my time on the island and I think the future is bright as long as they are both involved.
There are others I’m sure I have forgotten, but we are very lucky to have such a fantastic club to be a part of so thank you. After reading this back I think it’s important to thank my wife Rachael for her support, she enjoys spending her Saturday nights on the Island and is always the first to let me know how I’ve played!
I guess that’s about it from me from this past year. We have some exciting new players to announce over the next couple weeks and I’ll make sure to update my coach’s comments through the summer.
I hope that all players, staff, fans and sponsors have a wonderful summer and I am already excited for September.