McDonald top defenceman, Pugsley most improved
© Jocelyn Turner – Amherst Daily News
Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers captain Kody Orr (left) accepts the Vern Hurley Memorial Trophy from board member Keith Blenkhorn as the club’s most valuable player during last night’s awards reception.
AMHERST – Kody Orr has come a long way since joining the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers as a 16-year-old five seasons ago.
Known more for his defensive play and grit, the most goals the Lower Sackville native had scored in a Rambler uniform was 13. That was until this year, when he scored 33 times and added 29 points for 62 points in his final season with the team.
Orr’s accomplishments were recognized Wednesday when the Ramblers held an awards reception at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
“It’s been a great ride, I just hope it doesn’t end too soon. I can’t express enough for what the Ramblers’ organization has done for me,” Orr said following the reception. “It’s been a pleasure to be here, Amherst is great place to play hockey.”
Orr credited his linemates and close friend Mitch O’Neill for the success he had this year.
“They’ve always been there for me. I wouldn’t have put up nearly the points I did if it wasn’t for them,” Orr said. “This night isn’t about me, it’s about them.”
Along with receiving the Andrew Sweetland Award as top scorer, Orr was also presented the Vern Hurley Memorial Award as most valuable player and shared the Jeff Myatt Memorial as Players’ Choice with O’Neill.
Orr thanked the coaching staff, joking he and coach Jim Bottomley didn't always agree but adding he learned a lot from the veteran coach and believes he's a better hockey player because of it.
He also credited the fans for the team's success and thanked former coaches Corey Crocker, Jeff Lewis and John Carter.
"I know my parents weren't too crazy when I first come up here at age 15, but I just wanted to experience a junior camp. Little did I know I was here to stay," Orr said. "There are a lot of people I have to thank for everything they did for me over the years."
Cam McDonald, who joined the club early in the season from the Moncton Wildcats, was presented the Lorne Briggs Trophy as the top defenceman, while popular forward Max Richard, who had 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 points, received both the Henry Treadwell Memorial Trophy as Fans’ Choice and the Shermie White Memorial Trophy as the player best combining clean play and value to the club.
Amherst native and Moncton Wildcats’ draft choice Josh Pugsley, who missed the last few weeks of the season with an injury, received the Moe Bent Memorial Award as the most improved player, while goalie Chase Marchand, a draft choice of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, won the Carmen Porter Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year.
Defenceman Ben MacDonald received the Education Award for combining education, leadership and playing ability and the Captains’ Choice Award, the Hawkes’ Blueberries Trophy, was presented to Mitch O’Neill.
Ben Berisha, who joined the Ramblers in the pre-season in a trade with the Summerside Western Capitals, was presented the CKDH 101.7 FM Community Service Award for his work with minor hockey during the season.
The Ramblers open the post season on Saturday when they travel to Yarmouth to open the best-of-seven Eastlink Division semifinal series against the Mariners. Game 2 is Tuesday back in Amherst with the third game set for Thursday at the Mariners Centre.
Game 4 is Saturday, March 23, at the Amherst Stadium.
Truro, which finished first in the division, will play the Weeks Crushers who defeated the Bridgewater Lumberjacks 7-1 on Wednesday to sweep their best-of-three mini-series in two games.
In the other division, the Summerside Western Capitals, who clinched first overall and have home-ice through the playoffs, play the Miramichi Timberwolves in one series with the Woodstock Slammers and Dieppe Commandos meeting in the other Roger Meek Division semifinal.