NAHL announces 2018-19 season awards
May 1, 2019
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the remainder of its awards for the 2018-19 season. The selections are based on performance during the 2018-19 regular season, as voted upon by the league’s 24 Head Coaches.
The 2018-19 season awards include: All-NAHL Team, Most Valuable Player, Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year, Executive of the Year and Organization of the Year, along with the Apex Learning Virtual School Academic Achievement Award, Leadership Award and Community Service Award. Here is a look at the winners:
2018-19 All-NAHL 1st Team
Forward: Logan Jenuwine, Amarillo Bulls
Forward: Carson Briere, Johnstown Tomahawks
Forward: Brad Belisle, Aberdeen Wings
Defense: Brenden Datema, Amarillo Bulls
Defense: CJ McGee, Shreveport Mudbugs
Goalie: Matt Vernon, Aberdeen Wings
2018-19 All-NAHL 2nd Team
Forward: Samuel Solensky, Johnstown Tomahawks
Forward: Brandon Puricelli, Springfield Jr. Blues
Forward: Dante Sheriff, Austin Bruins
Defense: Sam Malinski, Bismarck Bobcats
Defense: Blake Evennou, Lone Star Brahmas
Goalie: Zach Stejskal, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
2018-19 Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year: Logan Jenuwine, Amarillo Bulls
Jenuwine, 20, set a new standard for scoring this season as he broke a 26-year-old NAHL record for goals in one season. His 60 goals, broke the old NAHL record of 55 set during the 1992-93 season. Jenwuine is also just the fifth player in NAHL history who has eclipsed the 100-point mark in a single season and first to eclipse the 100-point barrier since the 1994-95 season, a span of 24 years. Jenuwine, who played in the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Attleboro, Massachusetts, also made his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey to Arizona State University on February 27th, which came less than a week from playing in the event. The 6’2/195 lbs. native of Romeo, Michigan, won the NAHL Player of the Month award in both January and February this season.
2018-19 Vaughn Goaltender of the Year: Matt Vernon, Aberdeen Wings
Vernon, 21, was at or towards the top on almost every goaltending category in 2018-19. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of San Jose, California, led the NAHL with 40 wins this season, which was two shy of the NAHL single-season record. He also led the NAHL in shutouts (7), games played (52), was 2nd in save percentage (.934), and 3rd in goals against average (1.94). Vernon was named the NAHL’s Goaltender of the Month in both December and January and was also named the Central Division’s Most Valuable Player. Back in January, Vernon committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Colorado College.
2018-19 Defenseman of the Year: Brenden Datema, Amarillo Bulls
Datema, 20, was the wire-to-wire leader among NAHL defensemen in points this season, leading the league with 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 58 games played during the regular season. The 6’5/220 lbs. native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was also selected to and played in the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the NAHL Selects Blue team. His 60 points are the most for any NAHL defenseman since the 1988-89 season and the second most points in a single-season in NAHL history. Datema also committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Michigan Tech University during the 2018-19 season. He was named the NAHL’s Defenseman of the Month in both September and March.
2018-19 Rookie of the Year: Jonathan Sorenson, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
In his first season of playing junior hockey in the NAHL, Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Jonathan Sorenson, 19, has made the 2018-19 campaign one to remember. The 6’1/175 lbs. native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, led the Ice Dogs in scoring this season with 56 points (17 goals, 39 assists) in 60 games played. He also was selected to and played in the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the NAHL Selects Red team. In late January, he committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota and in April he was recognized as one of nine players with NAHL ties on the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for the 2019 NHL Draft. He was also selected to the All-Midwest Division team and chosen as the Midwest Division Rookie of the Year.
2018-19 Coach of the Year: Mike Letizia, Johnstown Tomahawks
Letizia led the Tomahawks to a franchise record and NAHL-best 47 wins during the 2018-19 regular season. The Tomahawks won the 2018-19 regular season title and East Division with 47 wins and 98 points. Between October 13th and December 2nd, the Tomahawks put together a 17-game winning streak, which was the second best in the NAHL this season. The team also had 25 consecutive home wins during the season. Letizia was also the head coach for the East Division team at the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. In addition, the team currently has eight players on the roster committed to play NCAA Division I hockey.
2018-19 General Manager of the Year: Marty Murray, Minot Minotauros
Murray led the Minotauros to another successful season on the ice, finishing 2nd in the Central Division with a 36-21-3 record, which was a follow-up to the Cinderella run to the Robertson Cup title game in 2018. The Minotauros qualified for the Robertson Cup Playoffs for a 7th straight season. In addition, seven players from the 2018-19 roster have committed to play NCAA Division I hockey. Off the ice, the Minotauros were 9th in NAHL attendance this season, averaging more than 1,400+ fans per game.
2018-19 Executive of the Year: Rick Bouchard, Johnstown Tomahawks
Johnstown Tomahawks President Rick Bouchard, who is a member of the NAHL’s Executive Committee, helped the Tomahawks achieve record-breaking success on and off the ice this season. On the ice, the Tomahawks won the NAHL’s regular season title with a 47-9-4 record, along with the East Division regular season title. The team also had another solid season at the box office, as they were one six NAHL teams to average more than 2,000+ fans per game this season. In addition, the current roster features seven players who are committed to play NCAA Division I hockey.
2018-19 Organization of the Year: Johnstown Tomahawks
The Tomahawks continued to delight the Johnstown community with a memorable season on and off the ice. On the ice, the team led the NAHL with 47 wins and 98 points, winning the NAHL’s overall regular season title and East Division title. In addition, the team had a 25-game home winning streak, a 17-game overall winning streak, and were 6th in league attendance. Off the ice, the Tomahawks remain committed to helping improve the Greater Johnstown community through the Johnstown Tomahawks Foundation and community events, which include involvement with Special Olympics, Anti-Bullying Campaigns, Boys and Girls Club, and various parades and community appearances.
2018-19 Apex Learning Virtual School Academic Achievement Award: Konner Lundeen, Minnesota Magicians
Lundeen, 18, attends Lakeville North High School and has done incredible work there this season. As a junior in high school playing away from his home in Bremerton, Washington, Lundeen, a defenseman, has maintained 3.8 GPA and also had a good first season of junior hockey on the ice, playing in 35 games and recording five points. Lundeen is also an alumni of the NAPHL, having played in the league during the 2016-17 season.
2018-19 Leadership Award: John Roberts, Bismarck Bobcats
Roberts, who just finished his third and final season playing in the NAHL, was the heart and soul of the Bobcats this season. While rules prohibit his wearing a captain’s letter as a goalie, he served as a co-captain of this year’s team. He set the tone for this season at the end of last season when, after a tough loss, went back out on the ice and started practicing immediately to better himself and send a message to players who hoped to return that the 2018-19 Bobcats would be a team built on hard work. He also came back to training camp in top shape and was a vocal leader in off-ice workouts and continued that vocal brand of leadership on and off the ice once the season began and as it continued. His post-game practices even caught on, inspiring other Bobcat players to come back out at home after games & events to continue to work on their skills—even after wins. His three-year dedication and hard work in the NAHL paid off in an NCAA Division I commitment to Northern Michigan University.
2018-19 Community Service Award: Brandon Perrone, New Jersey Titans
Brandon Perrone’s junior career began in the NA3HL in 2015-16 and has continued in the NAHL the past three seasons. The 20-year-old goaltender has been actively involved in many of the Titans community service efforts over the last couple of years. This season, he stepped up to take the lead with the team’s Kindness Program. This presentation is geared for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and focuses on “Kindness”. He not only speaks to the students in a way they understand, but he uses hockey as a gateway. He has also made it a point to spend extra time helping students with special learning needs. Most of the time the issues are small, but the student feels extra special because he took the time to find out. He demonstrated his desire to assist in the community once again during Read Across America Week, by visiting local elementary schools and read to the students. He has been instrumental with the many charities that the New Jersey Titans work with, but helping the younger Titans has been close to his heart. Sharing the love of hockey and helping them to be the best they can be both on and off the ice has made him a better person, and the Titans are a better organization with Brandon Perrone as a player. His willingness to help others is a quality that everyone should have.