The Picton Pirates ended a “very good” season with an awards banquet at Picton Rotary Club Hall Friday evening. While deprived a Tod Division crown by the Port Hope Panthers in the 2023 Schmalz Cup playoffs, spirits are high aboard the Pirate ship with an appearance in the Division finals.
“2022-23 was a very good season in Pirates history,” outgoing General Manager Jason Parks said. “Anytime you can play into mid-April and be one of eight teams out of 60-some PJHL franchises competing for a Schmalz Cup, that’s a great place to build from.”
Incoming General Manager Chris Kornblum was in attendance. He will be known to local fans as a former assistant coach with the Wellington Dukes. Last season, Kornblum worked with the U18 Quinte Red Devils as an assistant coach and is eager to start planning the upcoming season.
“I know Korny and Head Coach Kyle Hawkins Schulz are going to get together and build a team that will feed off the momentum of the 2023 playoffs,” Mr. Parks said. “There’s a lot of good young talent in the region ready to be tapped and, with key veterans taking that next step this season, the outlook is promising.”
Leading scorer, captain and graduate Landon McLellan took home the Lionel F. Hicks Memorial Award as club MVP as well as the Bobby Hull Award as the club’s top points getter in the playoffs.
Mr. Parks remarked on the positive impact the pivot had on the organization from his rookie season in 2018-19 on through to his final campaign.
“As much as he landed on the score sheet, a lot of fans might not understand how tough Landon is,” Mr. Parks said. “He battles through injuries and you never see that production level slip. He was a great role model for our younger players.”
Netminder Brady Spry was undoubtedly a top performer for the Pirates all season and was a lock for the Tom O’Hallaran Memorial award for best Picton goaltender. The Belleville native also won the B.J Munro Trophy as top playoff performer.
“Brady battled hard all season long through nagging injuries but he saved his best for the most important part of our season,” Hawkins Schulz said. “He really got the better of some great offensive players in our division in the playoffs.”
Consecon native Nick Kirby was the winner of the Matt Stever Memorial Award as top defensive forward in 2022-23. He also took home a new piece of hardware as the team’s top player from Prince Edward County.
The Rick Rose Memorial General Manager’s Award honours the man who created Picton’s first ever Empire League (Tod Division) championship in 1999. It was handed out by the man who crafted its second in 2011.
“When news of Rick’s passing hit me, I knew immediately there needed to be something to remember him and his legacy with the Pirates,” said Mr. Parks. “Having the GM pick the top player from the County year after year might seem a little arbitrary but sometimes that’s how managers at this level need to operate. A lot of our decisions are gut instinct and that’s how Ricky operated and I took a lot of his advice with me as I performed in this role.”
While former Pirate captain Will Harrison’s name is inscribed on a number of trophies in the Picton display case at Huff Estates Arena, younger brother Ian finally earned his first team award: he took home the Wayne Lindsay Memorial Award as most improved player.
In 40 games, Harrison potted 11 goals and added 17 assists while racking up a team-leading 119 minutes in penalties.
On the volunteer side, trainer Lindsay Stakes was the Bill Terpstra Memorial award winner for 2022-23.
“She played such an important role for us this season,” Mr. Parks noted. “You can’t have a good team night after night without a great trainer keeping your players healthy and Lindsay did a phenomenal job.”
Other award winners included:
Walter Norton Rookie of the Year- Gerrit Kempers.
Bill Ogden Defenceman of the Year- Rheydan McCoy.
Bill Strachan Most Sportsmanlike- Cole Lavender.
Ivan Stringer Most Dedicated- Zach Brooks.