On behalf of the WMHA Board of Directors, we would like to congratulate all the award winners listed below. We would also like to thank all our volunteers, past and present, for all their dedication, commitment and positive influence on our young hockey players. Awards will be given out when the awards are available and it is safe to do so. For now, enjoy the bios shared by various people that have appreciated these volunteers!! For our honoured retirees, a token of appreciation will be given.
Novice and Below Awards:
Most dedicated - William Strong
William is most dedicated for the Novice and Below division because he was the first kid at the rink for every practice. His work ethic on the ice was top among the entire group of players. He always gave 100 percent and was always the first in line to do drills and try something new. William always skated hard and listened to coaches. He was overall a pleasure to be around and coach. Congrats William!
Most sportsmanlike - Zachary St. Denis
Zachary St. Denis is most sportsmanship because he always cheered on his team mates and tried to encourage them during games and practices. During a tournament game, the coaches on the other team congratulated him on a well played game and he fist pumped all them saying, “Thank You!” with a smile despite the loss. Overall, Zachary was a great kid to coach because he respected his team mates, coaches and all the opposing teams they played. He even tried to help players who did not score all season try to get a goal. Congrats Zachary!
Most improved - Michael Bakic
This was Mikey’s first year playing hockey and each week he arrived with a ton of intensity. He was “running on the ice” when he started, but was very focused on improving his skills throughout each practice. Mikey’s skating improved dramatically throughout the year and became a top contributor to the team dynamics by the end of the year. Mikey showed fearlessness, endless energy and refused to quit while on the ice, which enabled him to improve so much. Great job Mikey!
Knobby Volunteer of the Year – Emily Waghorn
This was Emily’s first year volunteering as a convenor for the Initiation group. When we put out a call for help, she said she would help in any way she could. Both her and her boys would get to the rink early to ensure they had plenty of time to set up before the first practice. The boys were always around to help bring out the dividers before getting ready for their own practices. She was full of energy and always had a smile on her face helping wherever she can. We couldn’t have done it without out! Thank you Emily!
Initiation Coach of the Year – Jeff Youssef
Jeff Youssef has helped in the Novice and Below program for the past 5 years. He has been an assistant Coach, on ice helper and head coach throughout that time. He brings a unique experience to helping in Novice and below priding himself on making sure the kids learn while having fun, and more fun. Jeff wants the hockey experience to be a positive one for each kid and he makes sure they love hockey and continue to improve. This year he took on our U7 Development team and Coach Jeff created a true sense of community where all the players felt safe to take risks, improve and be a part of something amazing. Thanks for your years of dedication and many more to come Coach Jeff!
Novice Coach of the Year – Jason Ingratta
Jason Ingratta has helped in the Novice and Below program for the past several years. He has been assistant Coach, on ice helper and head coach during those years. He was asked to be a head coach one year and although he wasn't sure what was in store for him, he agreed to take the team. Jason is always at the rink early and always very well prepared. He goes out of his way to make sure the kids are having fun and that they feel excited about being on and off the ice with their teammates. He had arranged some awesome hockey parties at the rink for the kids including a visit from Paw Patrol. He has a very big heart and cares about all of the kids on his team. Thank you for all your efforts over the years, Coach Jason!
Coaches Award: Ken and Sean Muir
Coaching for Brian Source for Sports, these two fabulous coaches did a stellar job throughout the season. This group of kids enjoyed playing together as a team and the improvement of all the players was indeed noticeable from start to finish. This is what you strive to see in a good coach, children becoming better players and better people. Add to that, two coaches that were willing to always work with whatever changes or bumps came along the way in stride, in fact even with a large smile on their faces. They were very helpful and always came up with suggestions instead of complaints.
Most Dedicated Awards:
This year two (2) players went above and beyond for their teams and for WHMA!
Most dedicated player: Ashton Standel
Ashton Standel played for Brian Source for Sports, Red team in Atom Houseleague. He was also AP for the AE Atom Travel team. This is a lot of hockey and Ashton played every game for both teams and he never missed a game for either, some days even playing back to back games. A true center, able to play offense and defence well, Ashton was always willing to take any position that the coach asked him to do. If his coach said he would be a winger, no complaint, a winger he was. He took practices very seriously, sometimes out working the coaches. Even more impressive was the way he interacted and supported his teammates. He was dedicated to the game of hockey and his enthusiasm was infectious and for this reason, Ashton received the Most Dedicated award.
Most dedicated player: John Fontaine
John Fontaine played for Dynamic Design Green team in Atom Houseleague. John also was part of the select team and he AP’d for a Peewee Houseleague team. This is a lot of hockey. Some days would find him starting the morning on the Atom side playing for his team, once the game would end, he would quickly run over and jump into a peewee game. Some days would follow with a select game in the afternoon. That is massive dedication, with a touch of crazy. He would play any position his coaches asked. He would get into every play and would do whatever he could for any of his teams. This young man never gave less than 100%. For his amazing dedication to hockey and all three of his team, John Fontaine definitely fits the model for Most Dedicated.
Most Sportsmanlike player: Giuliano Facchineri
Guiliano Facchineri played for Antonino's Pizza Yellow team in Atom Houseleague. This is one amazing player on and off the ice. Polite, considerate and even a bit of a practical joker as he showed up as a christmas tree for ugly sweater day. He even twinkled. His coaches constantly commented on what a delite he was to have in the change room. Always positive always being the example that others followed on and off the ice. A great player, who was even called up to play for the peewee team and just fit right in. The peewee coach even agreed that his sportsmanship was top notch. Even if the team was losing, it didn’t stop Giuliano from cheering for his teammate. His infectious happiness made others happy and his team started to push forward and every week improve more and more. Great coaching and great kids helped but his positive attitude was key. This positive attitude is why Guiliano was awarded Most Sportsmanlike.
Most Improved player: Tyler Osman
Tyler Osman played for Comstar, the white team in Atom Houseleague. This was Tyler’s first year of hockey. Coming from Football, this was indeed a very big change for our new player. Needless to say, he could not skate. But this did not stop this young man from playing. It was a little difficult the first few games as some of the more veteran players would skate by him as he tried to simply stay up. But then he started to go to public skates every weekend and each week his skill started to improve. He listened to his coach and he would start to gain more confidence in his drills. Soon the kid that couldn’t skate was now the kid with the puck and a valuable member of the team. He played hard, he contributed 100% every since shift and through his perseverance, he scored 6 goals this season. Not bad for a kid that had never been on the ice before. For your perseverance Tyler, you deserve Most Improved.
Coach Appreciation Award: Luke Andary
Luke Andary was the coach for Motor City Community Credit Union, the Orange team in Peewee Houseleague. This peewee coach came back for a second year and to the excitement of the staff and the kids, he showed everyone how to coach in a respectful and competitive fashion. Luke has a great ability to put together a team. He doesn’t pick any flashy or showy players, he picks kids that want to play and with his training and his dedication to his team, he molds them into a force to be reckoned with. Luke’s team even won at Hospice this year. For him, it is two years in a row that he was able to bring his team to Hospice to win first. WMHA trophy case is fuller because of this young talented coach. Thank you Luke for your dedication to the kids and to hockey.
Most dedicated: Nathaniel Tramontozzi
Nathaniel Tramontozzi played for Will Insurance, the Red team in Peewee Houseleague. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with the position of Goalie. The last line of defense and in the case of Nathaniel, the only goalie on his team. There were no replacements if he was sick or if he was going on family vacation. This is a lot of responsibility and yet Nate handled it with ease. The most extraordinary trait of Mr. Tramontozzi is that when he took on this responsibility, he made sure to follow through, even asking his parents to cut his vacations short so that he could make ALL the games and EVERY tournament. The dedication to the sport, more the dedication to his team is unprecedented. He played sick, and if he was down, he would pick himself up and play for his team. Each shot that he let in was personnel regardless of the fact that five other players were on the ice. He was the backbone of his team. He played with a passion and the crease was his. Perhaps the most impressive where the saves that no one else could make yet he would woo the audience with the impossible save. It was the focus and the dedication to the position of goalie that made those incredible saves look easy. And it was his dedication to his team and the sport of hockey that had him awarded the most dedicated of the Peewee house league level.
Most Sportsmanlike: Eavan Blundell
Eavan Blundell played for Bubby's Heating and Plumbing, the Green team in Peewee Houseleague. A very good player yet a humble athlete that was always seen pumping up his teammates and congratulating his opponents. Eavan Blundell would often go up to refs and say thank you, good game and other times, he would be seen skating over to the other side of the ice to make sure the goalie didn’t take the lose on himself or congratulate the other team. If the opposing goalie made a sweet save on one of his shots, and Eavan would take every opportunity to shoot, he would skate over and give the opposing goalie a tap on the head. It was coaches from opposing teams that brought his sportsmanship to my attention. When his team won, he was the first on the ice to rush his teammates, give hugs and high fives. In the dressing room, he would relay positive words and a positive vibe about the game or team and every player knew that he would lead by example. It's players like him that make hockey an amazing sport and the reason why he was awarded the most sportsmanlike player.
Most Improved: Zachary Gauthier
Zachary Gauthier player for Windsor Police Association, the White team in Peewee Houseleague. Zachary started to play hockey last season and he played as a player. For his second year of hockey he decided to play net. The rookie goalie is always the one that other teams target because they feel they can get the better of them. Little did they know that Zac could play goalie like he was born to do it. In the beginning we had some rookie mistakes, small pads, and positioning. We traded up the pads and through his dedication to learning the positioning improved. And his glove, it was amazing. Soon teams knew that although he was the rookie goalie, he was not easy to beat. His glove hand would snap up anything and he had no fear as some crazy shots with heat came his way. He blocked them. Any way he could, even with his face (thankfully he had a face guard). From hardly being able to put on the gear to having the spectacular playoff games, helping his team make the semi-finals. Zachary is the most improved player for the peewee division.
Coach Appreciation Award: Jim Webber
It is Jim’s 8th year volunteering with WMHA and is a very deserving Coach of the Year Award winner! He takes the time to prepare, communicate, and reflect on the player’s development and well-being. He talks to each player, helping them during games and practices. Players are very appreciative of his calm demeanor, and are better people when finished a season on his team! This year Jim coached in Bantam, and always ensured he supported players whether they were struggling or when they made a good play. Thanks for all your contributions this year Jim! And hope to see you on the bench next season!
Most improved player: Matthew Carriere
Regarding him being nominated as midgets most improved player:
Matt is the type of player that takes every opportunity to work on his skills. Matt has become a key contributor to his team’s success. He is always in position, makes great unselfish decisions with the puck and always demonstrates great sportsmanship. Any time we were able to schedule extra practice ice, Matt was one of the first players to confirm he could attend. You can tell just by spending time around him that he truly cares about the game, his team, and improving as a player. His development from atom to midget has been significant and a credit to the time and energy he puts in. Matt is a coach’s dream. He puts his head down and works hard. You hardly ever hear from him, but when you do it’s always positive. He stays out of the penalty box, and though he is one of the youngest players in midget, he helps to set the tone for our team with his work ethic.
Most sportsmanlike player: Jayden St. Louis-Marshall
Jayden always comes to the rink with a positive attitude that rubs off on teammates and coaches. As described by coaches and players, “He is a joy to be around, a friendly guy!”. He tried his all on the ice, whether it be at practice or in a game. He rarely if ever took a penalty and made sure everyone on the team felt welcome and included in the conversations. He played for coach Rob Benneian on the Emara Laser Eye Centre team that made it to the finals this year at our Day of Champs. Outside of WMHA, he has made many contributions. He is a student at Corpus Christi and won the 2018 John Atkinson Award for kindness and bravery and just this May, he was raising money to stickhandle his way from Belle River to Lesperance, a 32 km run to benefit the Windsor Regional Hospital. His calm demeanor and friendly attitude contributed to this team’s success and also benefited our community. Well done Jayden, and see you in the rink next season!
Most Dedicated player: Dillon Menzel
This year’s winner of the most dedicated player for Bantam House League is Dillon Menzel. Dillon has played with WMHA since a very young age, and made the decision to be a goalie - one of the most unique and difficult positions to play! This year he played on a Bantam House league team, Bantam Select as well as AP for our midget division most weeks! The amount of shots and development of him as a goalie has been immense. He was not afraid of standing in front of the shots in Midget House League, and would step up whenever needed for the Midget team that didn’t have a goalie. He listened to his coaches (all 3) and worked to get better while spending many hours at the arena. Congrats Dillon, see you at the rink soon!
Congratulations to the following two coaches for their years of service with WMHA:
John Bortolotti and Sean Briand! A WMHA token of appreciation will be given when safe to do so!
John Bortolotti started coaching with WMHA when his sons began playing the game “many years ago”. He was dedicated to the sport and to the development of the players. He has always brought with him a passion for the game and an intensity to the action at the arena. John coaches the players from the bench, with key words to improve the player development, and to encourage the players when faced with adversity. He truly gets to know his players, while treating them with understanding. He pushes the players to meet their potential. We will miss John on the bench, but hope to see his passion again at the arena as he plans to volunteer with evaluations in the fall. Thanks for all your time and energy, John, and look forward to seeing you in the rink evaluating soon!
Sean Briand also began coaching when his eldest son began playing hockey. He was very involved and on the bench to help support and develop numerous players over the years. He continued to coach beyond his son’s hockey careers, continuing to be a coach at the Bantam and Midget level. Sean also took on the Midget Select team with Lee Landry (his assistant the last number of years) developing players even further at the Select level. The smiling face and yet intense coaching was appreciated by all players. Despite the officials, or attitudes on the bench or from the opposing team, Sean was able to smile and laugh and continue to encourage his players. Sean will be missed, but we know he will be back to help with evaluations and other events in the future. Thanks for all your years of dedication Sean, and see you for evaluations at Knox soon!
Bench Staff Award: Korey Kovacevich
Korey volunteered this year and always brought a smile to the arena. Korey, an alumni of WMHA, always speaks of the impact that playing hockey in the organization made on him as a young man, and wants to give back so others can feel the way he did. He still maintains friendships he made in his years at WMHA, and now coaches alongside long-time coach Chris Kuzmas. As a first year trainer, it was Korey’s job to assess and help players throughout the game, bring up their spirits and make sure they were well - both physically and mentally. He has a great way with the players, and the impact he has made on them is very positive and evident. Great work Korey - can’t wait for you to make an impact next season on even more players! Congrats!
Most dedicated player: Josh Lachance
This past year, Josh played potentially his last year of hockey as he attended first year university at the University of Windsor. Josh never missed a game, despite a major project, midterm or feeling under the weather. He even stepped in to play for other teams when needed. Josh has a calm demeanor that is appreciated and needed to maintain the positive outlook on a team bench. He always was respectful in defeat, and looked for ways to improve game to game. Thanks for all your years of playing Josh! And hope to see you around the rinks!
Most Sportsmanlike player: Luke Kuzmas
Luke Kuzmas played on Bob Reaume’s Green Midget house league team this year. He was always trying his best, skating his hardest and wanting to get a goal. He was encouraged by his team members and supported by his teammates. He loved to talk about his past time in hockey, in particular a year where they always dressed in suits for their game one year, showing they were ready to play and ready to do their best. Despite being bumped around and sometimes arriving in the penalty box, he stayed calm and respectful of the officials’ decisions, and listened to the bench staff as they gave him feedback. Thanks for being a great teammate Luke, and showing others how it is done! Thumbs up and can’t wait to see you next year!
Most Improved player: RJ Piper
RJ Piper is the recipient of this year’s Most Improved Award. He has been a goalie for a number of years with WMHA, definitely the hardest of all positions to play. This year, his coach, John Bortolotti and his Midget House League team, Summit Flooring and Wall Coverings “Yellow” helped him rise to the challenge and improve his game. He had lots of support from the crowd, often having grandparents and parents cheering him on. This season ended with a “Championship” medal around his neck and an exciting Shoot-Out win for the team. Congrats RJ, and can’t wait to see you between the pipes again next year!
Youth Knobby Volunteer of the Year: Trevor Losier
Trevor Losier has been volunteering with the Novice and Below program over the past 2 years. When he wasn't busy with his own AA team, Trevor would arrive early to help out whichever age group was on the ice. He would spend 2-4 hrs on a weekend helping out the younger generation with words of wisdom, a helping hand, or a positive word of encouragement. He was patient and encouraging to all the young players he worked with. There were times when he wasn't on the ice helping, but instead he moved dividers, set-up dressing rooms for tournaments, sorted swag bags or served pizza. No matter what was asked, Trevor did willingly and with a smile on his face. His politeness and friendliness makes him a favorite among the kids and volunteers. We appreciate your help, Trevor!
Travel Coach Retirement: Elmer Carmichael
Coach Elmer is calling it quits after a number of years coaching with WMHA. This past year he coached the Peewee Major team. For over the last 20 years he has coached and mentored a number of players in a variety of divisions in both Riverside Minor Hockey and WMHA. Spending hours in the arenas throughout Windsor, he also travelled to Columbus, OH, South Bend, IN, many Toronto area tournaments and of course the Annual Riverside Christmas tournament. He has coached many ages of A and AA from Peewee to Midget. This past season he along with his Peewee Major AA team made it to semis in both the Notre Dame University Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, and covid-19 put an end to a semifinal series this past March. Last year they did manage to get to the Bluewater semifinals with Essex, losing in a 14 round shootout. Thanks for all your years of commitment, Coach Elmer, and enjoy your retirement from the rink!
Travel Coach of the Year
This year's coach of the year's team made huge improvements from 2018/19 to 2019/20. His commitment on and off the ice was second to none. He would spend hours going over game video and running weekly classroom sessions for his players. He has been an open-minded coach who is willing to listen to the ideas of his staff members and work together for the development of all players on the team. He was a fair coach who was tough when he needed to be, but was always respectful, encouraging and positive; letting them know that he believed in their abilities and potential.
A team’s success is not always measured in wins and losses. He always had his team ready to compete at a high level and kept his players motivated. One of the players on the team said, "It was his best year yet!" and he and his teammates really enjoyed having him as their coach.
It is our pleasure to give the Travel Coach of the year award to Sean Sinasac.
Rick Murdoch Community Excellence Award
This year the WMHA board would like to establish an award to recognize one of our members that devotes thankless amounts of time and goes above the call to help mentor, coach and make WMHA the best hockey association in our area. In honour of someone who has been volunteering since 1974, we are presenting an annual award called the Rick Murdoch Community Excellence Award. He volunteered for a number of years and after a stint of professional scouting, he joined the board in 1993 serving the next 16 years in various capacities. Murdy is currently on the board as an advisor and has been such an integral resource during the transition period. Thank you Rick for all you do!
It has been decades of volunteering for the first winner of our Rick Murdoch Community Excellence Award. He not only coached for WMHA, but also his 2 sons in Windsor Minor Football Association in which the practices and games often overlapped. He also coached his daughter's team with Sun Parlour Female Hockey Association. His weeks and weekends were consumed by hockey practices and games (times 3!!) and in addition to 8 football practices and 2 games a week. There is a rumour that one time he was so busy, he left one of the kids at the arena thinking he was in the car in a rush to get to the next sporting event. His sons were often changing out of their hockey equipment into their football equipment in the arena locker room to make their next game or practice. Since John was the coach, there was no option of missing a game or practice. Their family philosophy was always, “Once you've made a commitment to something, especially being part of a team, you have to follow through. If you want to walk away after the season is done that is ok, but you need to see that commitment through to the end.” I think it is evident that this coach has also maintained this expectation with his players. He always stresses to not give up on yourself or your team because every player, whether you're a strong or a beginner, is an integral part of the team. His main objective for the kids was always to give their all and to have fun. I think it is safe to say that this coach is passionate, dedicated, empathetic and truly cares about the young people these players become. He's spent many nights eating his dinner in the parking lot or wolfing it down on his way out the door to get to a game. This coach has always donated his time or energy to help others whether that be a can drive, coat drive, or other event. His “Never give up!” attitude definitely was instilled in his players this season when they came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the championship this year at the Day of Champs.
Please join me in congratulating our inaugural winner of the Rick Murdoch Community Award to: