The Medicine Hat Cubs season ended sooner than they would have wanted, but they got to cap it off together.
The Cubs hosted their team awards dinner Wednesday night at Ralph’s Texas Bar and Steakhouse where they handed out 13 awards to 11 different players. It was also a night of reflecting on the season for Cubs head coach Randy Wong.
“When I look at how the year went, certainly disappointment that we lost and not continuing. But overall, a young team that is going to thrive next year,” Wong said. “So I’m excited about our building blocks that we started. We’ve built a strong foundation, I think we have good character in the room. I think that’s just going to hold well for the new guys coming in. Our record was pretty good this year and we hope to make it better next year.”
The season came to a close Mar. 12 when they lost Game 6 of the HJHL South final series 4-1 against the Okotoks Bisons. They swept their seven-game second round series against the Coaldale Copperheads after earning a first-round bye with a regular season record of 25-8-3.
Medicine Hat made the South final for the first time since the 2012-13 season with 17 rookies in the lineup.
Forward Cooper Hilworth and goaltender Dawsen Savage were named the team’s playoff MVPs. Jamal Shaw took home the sportsmanship award, Darnell Glasgow was named most improved player and Conner Douglas, who finished the season second in scoring, was named rookie of the year.
Wednesday night was a light hearted atmosphere as the team celebrated not only the season and each other but getting together one final time. Wong said in his speeches before they handed out awards that teams, no matter how well they succeed, rarely come back fully intact the next season.
When asked how nice it was to see guys enjoying themselves he said it shows the makeup of the Cubs.
“They really became a team of buddies,” Wong said. “They hang out away from the rink and you can sense that. For me that’s everything. That they can be around each other 24/7 and they’ll battle for each other when that happens. So I’m really proud that it’s a group where there were some new guys that didn’t know anyone, some out of town guys, and our veteran, local guys really absorbed them and brought them into the team. That’s part of the Cubs program.”
Colby Friedrich took home the outstanding scholastic achievement for his studies at Medicine Hat College and Everet Stewart was given the community service award for always volunteering for team public events.
Dylan Trembecki was named the team’s best defenceman of the season and Austin Klimosko was tabbed as the top defensive forward. Wong said it’s good for players like Trembecki and Klimosko to be recognized for their efforts off the scoresheet.
“When you have to play away from the puck you don’t get a lot of recognition, those are the hardest working guys you have,” Wong said.
Callan Prosofsky took home two awards, being named the most dedicated Cub and receiving the unsung hero for his unrelenting effort.
Captain Levi Schlosser was the focus of the night, as he accepted the trophy for most goals in a season, leading scorer and team MVP.
Schlosser had 29 goals and 71 points in 36 games this season and said it was pretty special to be given the MVP trophy.
“Grabbing it and looking at all the names on it, it’s nice to be a part of those names and being on there,” Schlosser said.
This year’s team motto was, “rebuilt and ready for the playoffs.” When asked what next year’s would be, Wong said they’ll look at whatever puts meaning behind a season where they’re looking to do bigger and better things.
“We want to get into that league final next year, that’s a goal that I think you always have as a coach, that you want to win,” Wong said. “That’s part of junior hockey. You don’t play not to win, so we want to make sure we provide that and put in a program that players want to come.”
Before he gets into spring camp in late May and when asked if he wishes away the summer to get to next season, Wong joked that he’d have to talk to his wife about that.
“A little time away doesn’t hurt us,” He said with a laugh.