- Created: 02 March 2016
Eugene, OR – The Eugene Generals announced the recipients of the 2015-16 player awards at the team’s banquet Wednesday night.
Each season, the Generals are proud to bestow awards for seven players, a volunteer, and a host family for their respective contribution to the team this season.
Generals goalie Chris Pritchard received three of the awards Wednesday night. He received awards for Most Valuable Player, Player’s Choice, and the Bobby Freeland Golden Hard Hat, given to the player who always shows up and never quits. The third-year veteran from Tualatin, Oregon is the first goalie in team history to win the honors for MVP and the Golden Hard Hat, and is just the second to win the Player’s Choice Award (Daniel Spencer was the first when he won it last year).
After playing a total of just four games during his first two years with the Generals, Pritchard has started in half of the team’s games this season, where he has posted statistics ranking among the best for a goalie in team history. Along with an astonishing save percentage of 93.5%, Pritchard has recorded three shutouts, a goals against average of 2.55, and nine games this season with at least 40 saves.
Generals Head Coach Justin Kern talked about how much Pritchard has meant to the team not just this season, but during his three years in Eugene. “Pritchard has proven all year long and the last two seasons that he is a great teammate to everyone. He is always there for his teammates, and that shows on and off the ice. He won a lot of great games for us which would have been harder for us to win without him.”
Leading the team in scoring with just two regular season games left, Generals captain Christian “Buddy” Dale won the award for Best Offensive Player. One year removed from earning the Most Improved Player honor, Dale emerged this season as the one of the team’s top offensive producers. In his third season with the team, Dale currently leads the team in points (43), assists (25), power play assists (10), and is tied for most goals with 18. His 43 points are ten more than he had a season ago.
Coach Kern added on to how Dale’s production offensively has benefited the team. “Buddy is one of those exciting players to watch and always tries to make sure he contributes every game. He’s neck and neck with other players in scoring, but what separates him offensively are his four game-winning goals and is one of those players who just tries to get it done every time he is out on the ice.”
Being one of just seven returning veterans from the previous season, Nash Berkowitz was heavily relied on as the lone returning defenseman along the blue line. Aside from doubling his points total from eight to sixteen, Berkowitz emerged as one of the team’s best defenseman, even while missing five games to an injury. The 17-year old from San Jose, California received the award for Best Defensive Player.
“I’m really proud of Nash this year,” expressed Kern. “He had a few things to work on in the offseason to help improve his game. He’s been one of the most reliable defenseman all year for us, and you can count him game in, game out.”
Josh Hawn won the award for Most Improved Player. In his first year of junior hockey, Hawn has accumulated 14 points (five goals, nine assists) while missing just one game. Not only that, Hawn improved immensely during each practice and game, a sentiment Coach Kern echoed as well.
“Coming into the year, he definitely had the skills but was still raw around the edges,” said Kern. “He was a player that every week in practice would improve significantly and in games as well. I’d say he is someone whom everyone can agree got better as the season went on.”
One of the team’s leading scorers, Cody Arbelovsky, earned the honor for Rookie of the Year, given to the player most proficient in his first year of junior hockey. Originally from Kenai, Alaska, Arbelovsky currently ranks third on the Generals in points (40) and is tied with Dale for most goals on the team with 18. He made an impact on the team right away, starting the season by recording at least a point in eight of his first nine games. Arbelovsky was also the only player on the team to record multiple hat tricks during the year (November 7th at West Sound and January 15th vs. Tri-Cities).
“Cody came here as one of the younger players and immediately made an impact on the team,” explained Kern. “Not only is he near the top in scoring, he’s a great locker room presence and has been a pleasure to have here.”
Willie Sanders was the recipient of the Norma J. Evans Volunteer of the Year Award. Given to the game day volunteer who exemplifies excellence and commitment in their position, Sanders has not missed a Generals home game in each of the last team’s three seasons. Whether it is helping out with the home or away penalty box, or as a goal judge on the north or south end, Sanders always shows a willingness to do whatever volunteer job needs to be filled during each home game.
Jennifer Fisher was given the award for Host Family of the Year. The honor is given to the host family, otherwise referred to as a “billet,” who best exemplifies support of the players, team, and organization. This is Fisher’s first year as a host family, where she housed two Generals players this season.
Along with two regular season games left this weekend, the Generals will also face the Bellingham Blazers in the first round of the NPHL Playoffs, beginning Friday, March 11th in Bellingham. The Generals will host a game three on Friday, March 18th and a possible game four on Saturday, March 19th at the Rink Exchange. Playoff tickets are available online at eugenegenerals.com.
Check out the Generals’ website for award recipients from each of the last eleven years.
For more information:
Director of Communications