The Portage Collegiate Trojans hockey team enjoyed an extremely successful 2022-23 season and celebrated the year it was last week. The team held an awards night to congratulate all the hard work these players put forth. Head coach Dave van Deynze says getting everyone back into the same room again made for a nice atmosphere.
"It was good to see everybody. It had been a month or more since we had any hockey activity. So, it was great to see the boys back together again and celebrate what was a great year when we take a step back and look at it," Van Deynze explains. "Obviously, we didn't win the league championship, which was everybody's goal at the start of the year. If you look past that, we had a fantastic year, all things considered."
The Trojans made it all the way to the league finals but fell in their best-of-three series to the Morden Thunder. PCI was coming off a championship win in 2022, and they did their best to repeat.
"We had eight returning players and eleven new players who hadn't played high school hockey before. That's not typically a recipe for success, yet we had a lot of success," Van Deynze continues. "Being a couple of games short at the end of the year, if you said we'd be that successful at the start of the year, I would've taken that in a heartbeat. Ending up missing out by a little bit was disappointing at the time but looking back now, we can't be anything but proud of the boys."
The event was held at Stride Place, and Van Deynze notes it was the perfect way to cap off the year it was. He thanks Jody Budz for doing the bulk of the planning for the evening.
See the full list of award winners below:
MVP - Alex Van Deynze
Best Defenceman - Maddox Shindle
Leading Scorer - JJ Oke
Most Sportsmanlike - Kade Friesen
Top Rookie - Cam Sarna
Hardest Working Player - Rowan Cherkas
Most Improved - Luca Tornato
Best Defensive Forward - Logan Budz
Best Forward - JJ Oke and Alex van Deynze
Coaches Award - Rowan Peters and Ben Matthews-McCulley
Playoff MVP - Rowan Cherkas