Green Gaels Hand Out 2023 Hardware
The Green Gaels hosted their annual awards banquet on over the holidays at the 420 Wing in Oshawa. This was the first time the organization was able to host the banquet since 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and also the first time hosting at the wonderful 420 Wing located just south of the Oshawa Municipal Airport.
Players, Volunteers, Staff, along with friends and family got together to celebrate the 2023 season and acknowledge the Green Gaels awards winners and graduating players. Also on hand were the family of Tom "Slick" Wreggitt to help hand out the newly renamed Offensive MVP Award named in Tom's honour following his passing in September following a valiant struggle with cancer.
Tom's wife Majorie, his son Andy, and Andy's fiancee Shannon presented the Tom "Slick" Wreggitt Offensive MVP award for the 2023 season along with Offensive Coach Jeff Fernandes to Connor Platt following a season in which he scored 35 goals and 22 assists in 19 games for the Gaels along with another 8 goals and 8 assists in six playoff games during his sole season with the club.
Next up was the Defensive MVP award presented by Defensive Coach Justin Bragg. For the 2023 season, co-winners were announced as goaltender Ethan Harwood and defensive player Nick Webb were judged to be jointly deserving of the award. Harwood inherited the goal crease part way through the season following an injury to veteran Malcolm Vivian and never looked back posting a 10-3-2 record through the regular season with a 6.33 Goals Against Average and playing every minute of the Green Gaels six play off games as the backbone of the defensive unit. Webb, joining the Green Gaels from the Peterborough Lakers as a late addition to the roster was an unexpected contributor to the back door for the team. An excellent leader in the dressing room as well as on the floor, Webb played 21 combined games between the regular season and playoffs while only accumulating 6 penalty minutes, which also got him nominated as most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year in the OJBLL.
Next, presented by Head Coach Jay Lee and Defensive Coach Chris Tucker, was the Green Gaels Rookie of the Year Award. John McKinney took home the award following a season which saw the coaches put McKinneys versatility to the test. Without a define role carved out to start the season, McKinney turned out to be the ultimate utility player filling roles on offense, defence and transition throughout the season. One of only two 2005 birth years on the team, the Newcastle resident was heavily relied upon by the coaches and likely will be again moving into the 2023 season.
The next award to be handed out was the Most Underrated Player presented by Head Coach Jay Lee and Defensive Coach Chris Tucker. Bryce Dennis was judged to best fit this award for the 2022 season and took home the award. The 2003 birth year Dennis was in his first season with the Green Gaels and brought an element of toughness to the offensive end of the floor, finishing fourth on the team in scoring during the regular season with 18 goals and 22 assists. He only got better as the season went along and ended up leading the team in scoring in the playoffs with 6 goals and 15 assists through six games. Some of Dennis' more important attributes do not show up on the scoresheet including loose balls and turnovers helping provide additional value in the offensive end of the floor.
Gavin Lang was presented with the Most Likely To Succeed award by the coaching staff. In his sole season with the Green Gaels, the 21 year old was the epitome of team player both on the floor and in the dressing room. The Laurentian University Business Major was a surprise addition to the Gaels after moving to Little Britain during the COVID Pandemic and provided maturity and smarts to the Green Gaels. Playing in 16 regular season games for the Green Gaels primarily on the defensive side of the ball, it will not be a shock to see Lang doing big things in the future either in or out of the lacrosse world.
The Kenny Johnston Grinder of the Year award was presented to this years winner Owen Taylor by Green Gaels trainer Mike Bryant. The award was renamed after long time Gaels trainer Kenny Johnston after his passing following the 2017 season in his honour. Presented to the player who grinds their way through the season, typically spending a lot of time on the trainers table getting worked on, Taylor exemplified working through nagging injuries to help contribute in both ends of the floor for the Gaels in 2022. The 2003 birth year Taylor played in every regular season and playoff game for the Gaels despite battling injuries throughout the season bringing an element on continuity to the continually changing Green Gaels lineup. The Bowmanville resident will be counted on the bring leadership as we transition into the 2023 season.
The Jim Bishop Memorial Award for Dedication and Perseverance was awarded to Nolan Schott. Unfortunately, Schott was unable to attend the banquet due to travel commitments. Schott had to end his season prematurely due to injuries that occurred prior to the season beginning, but battled and persevered to work through the issues to suit up in 16 games for the Green Gaels. Even when unable to play, Nolan was at the arena supporting his teammates and doing everything he could to help the team succeed. Both Nolan and the Green Gaels are looking forward to the 2023 season hoping to see a fully healthy season from the young leader.
The Presidents Award for Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Chris Archer for the 2023 season. Unable to attend due to his commitments over the Holidays, Archer has provided the Green Gaels with a continued social media presence over the last few years to bring news and updates to Green Gaels fans with up to the minute game updates throughout the season. His continued support and volunteer work with the Green Gaels (and a variety of other organizations in the Durham Region) is extremely appreciated by both the organization and all of its fans.
The Green Gaels also were able to acknowledge a variety of graduating players following the 2022 season. Unfortunately a number of these players only got one season with the Green Gaels due to the COVID restrictions shutting down the OJBLL for two seasons, but made a significant impact in the year that they played.
Team Captain Quinn Hyland, Assistant Captain Nick Webb, Gavin Lang, Jared Smith, Connor Platt, and goaltender Malcolm Vivian will all be moving on to other lacrosse ventures due to age. The Green Gaels wish all of them well as they continue their lacrosse careers and thank them for their contributions to the Green Gaels and all of their supporters during their time in Green and White.