The Airdrie AAA Midget Bisons honoured their best of the season with team year-end awards.
Earlier this year the Airdrie Cochrane Athletic Association of which the Bisons, the Minor Midget AC Avalanche, and the Airdrie AAA Bantam Xtreme are a part of, had to cancel the year-end banquet, where the awards would normally be presented, because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The award winners were chosen by the Bisons, then were called to let them know they were selected and then videos were created for social media to let the team's fan base and other players know who they were.
The award for Most Valuable Player went to goaltender Garrett Fuller from Airdrie. The Bisons back stopper played in 19 games this season and recorded a goals-against-average of 3.95 while compiling a save-percentage of .909. All that while stopping a huge amount of rubber, 709 shots in total, the most in the Alberta Midget Hockey League.
"Night in and night out he was probably our most consistent player throughout our lineup," says Bisons Head Coach Dustin Taylor. "That's not to say anything against his other teammates there, but when he needed to, he was consistent. His skill level was tremendous, his work ethic was second to none. There's a reason why he's signed with the Drumheller Dragons, and in my opinion, he was the best goaltender in the league this year."
As Taylor mentioned, Fuller has signed on to play for the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Drumheller Dragons for the 2020-2021 campaign, whenever it may start.
Bison Owen Lugowski from Black Diamond has also signed on to play for a Junior A team next season, recently signing with the Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Lugowski was named the recipient of the Mark Norman Award as the Hardest Working Bison.
Cochrane's Shaw Cathcart was one of two Bisons who was a duel award winner. Cathcart won the Top Scorer Award with 23 points in 36 games this season and was also chosen Rookie of the Year. Taylor says, like many of this year's players, Cathcart brings more than conventional hockey skills to the table.
"He's kind of a silent leader but he's very well versed in understanding situations within the room and understanding dynamics and he can read people quite well so those were the other criteria we looked at when we were picking the award winner."
The other double-winner on the Bisons was Airdrie's JT Luterbach. He won the Neil Glionna Award for Dedication, Perseverance and Sportsmanship and also won the Markus Lavallee Scholarship. Once again, Taylor points to the character of Luterbach for what sets him apart.
"We have a team full of character individuals and he kind of led the way in terms of being one of the guys who leads with integrity. Everything he does is honest. He says, 'I'm not smart, I just work my ass off for everything I get.' He is quite smart and when you couple those two traits, you get an outcome that is quite extraordinary."
Other award winners included Parker Jorginson of Cochrane who won the AMHL Scholarship. Jorginson had 5 points in 23 games with 39 blocked shots.
Another Cochranite, Alex Bend was named the Top Defensive Forward. He had 9 points in 31 games played along with 31 takeaways.
The Top Defenseman on this year's Bisons squad was Will Barrett of Beiseker. Barrett blocked 36 shots this season while recording 11 points in 34 games.
Taylor says he's agreed to come back to be the Head Coach of the Bisons for the 2020-2021 season.
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