Merritt Centennials
Q101 is the Home of the Cents!

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The Merritt Centennials, fans, staff, volunteers, and supporters gathered on Sunday night to salute the Centennials record year.

While the Cents were unable to capture 1st place in the Interior division, their .675 win percentage and 35 wins on the season were the most the town has seen in over 30 years.

Below is a brief description of each award and the winners.

SKA-LU-LA AWARD

Every year Rusty Brewer and the Ska-lu-la wood working shop hires Centennials to work not only in the shop, but with special needs clients. The two players that most exemplified their willingness to work, and enjoyment with the clients are:

Mike Van Unen & Mattias Dal Monte

VOLUNTEER EXCELLENCE AWARD

The Centennials not only work hard at the rink, they work hard in the community. Whether it be food drives, or their after school reading program, some Cents were always ready, willing, and able to go the extra mile to put a smile on a face in the community. The two players that excelled in volunteering are:

Nick Wicks & Ben Ward

FAN FAVORITE AWARD

With the help of fans and Work and Play Clothing Company and voting across all social media channels and in the rink, a favorite player was chosen from among the Centennials. While many votes were cast, it quickly became a two horse race between last years Fan Favourite Joey Berkopec and the NEW fan favorite:

Matt Kopperud

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

As explained by Head Coach Joe Martin, the Most Improved Player doesn't always have to be a rookie, or someone who pulled through adversity. This year it went to a player who rounded out his game, moved from the wing to centre, won a bronze medal, and went from 33 points last year to 60 this year. The winner of the Most Improved Player:

Mathieu Gosselin

ACADEMIC SCHOLAR AWARD

Every year the Centennials sign young players that still have to complete their high school education. Balancing hockey and school is a difficult task and there were a few Centennials that had to juggle that this season, but the one who still managed straight A's while maintaining a high level of play was:

Talon Zakall

MOST PROMISING PLAYER

This years recipient for Most Promising Player was another that made a huge step forward in his second year of Junior hockey. Last year he was a player that was in and out of the line up, but still managed to put up 9 goals and 17 points. This year he tripled his goal total to 27, finished with 51 points, and was a point-per-game player. The Most Promising Player:

Matt Kopperud

COACHES CHOICE AWARD

Having the full trust of the coaching staff isn't something that's earned overnight. You have to be a player that shows up and plays hard game in and game out, practices like your in game mode, and hits the gym to set the tone for the team. This years winner was someone who is key in all situations and is always a ball of energy. The Coaches Choice:

Brendan Schneider

MOST GENTLEMANLY PLAYER

Head Coach Joe Martin precluded this award by saying the Centennials had the 2nd most penalty minutes in the league behind only the Cowichan Valley Capitals so he doesn't know how much it applies. However, the player that embodies the gentlemanly spirit, around the room, in practice, and on the ice this year is:

Brad Cocca

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

The Cents came into this season with 13 returning players. With such a veteran heavy roster, it was tough to crack into playing big minutes for any rookies on the team. While there was a solid crop across the board for the Centennials, one player was able to make the smart decisions under pressure, play some tough match ups and almost always put the Cents in a better position on the ice. The Rookie of the Year:

Talon Zakall

LEADING SCORER

This one is no secret. He's been leading the team in points almost from start to finish. Improving on his first season in the BCHL where he tallied just 23 points in 44 games, Brad Cocca refocused over the summer and came back a man possessed this season. He finished 6th in BCHL scoring with 68 points in all 58 games played, and will be leaned upon for offense in the Playoffs. The Cents leading scorer:

Brad Cocca

BEST DEFENSEMAN

The Centennials have gotten solid performances from their D-core all season long, but there's one player who's stood out above the rest. Whether he's lacing an outlet pass tape to tape, or leading the rush himself with his solid skating and puck skills, he's a force to be reckoned with because of his toughness and his Hockey IQ. Doubling his point total from 13 last year to 27 this year. The Cents best defenseman:

Mike Van Unen

UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Every year there's always someone who flies under the radar, he helps the team refocus, play the right way, and leads by example while never looking for the limelight. This year that player has quietly played up and down the lineup, done what was asked, and never questioned it once. Going from 15 points last year, to 37 this year and leading with a quiet confidence. The Unsung Hero:

Christian Sabin

LEADERSHIP AND ABILITY AWARD

Last year this award went to the team's two goalies, but this year with such a shining example there wasn't much doubt as to who deserved it. Leading the team from the pre-season to the post season, someone that has demonstrated both leadership when required, and ability when called upon. Playing in all situations and netting over a point per game with 59 this year. O Captain My Captain:

Nick Wicks

MOST VALUABLE LOCAL PLAYER

The team found this award sitting neglected in a closet and had to shine it up before presenting it. It's been 5 years since the team has had a local born and raised talent on the team, and there's still a bright future ahead for this guy:

Talon Zakall

BEST PLUS / MINUS AWARD

Some say this stat doesn't tell the full story anymore, but for a player who came to the team a day before the regular season and fit in like a glove it says a whole lot. The player that had the best plus / minus on the team with a +22:

Brady Ziemer

MOST GAME WINNING GOALS

When the game is on the line this player always had ice water coursing through his veins. He's said that he just tries to get open with his stick on the ice, and more than anyone else in the BCHL this season he did. There's a reason why his nickname is 'Game On,' The player with the most game-winning goals this season with 10:

Nick Granowicz

JOE TENANT TROPHY - MOST DEDICATED AWARD

Hockey is a game of dedication. To get to this level, players have already had to prove their dedication through every trial up to this point. So to be honored above them all is truly something special. This player has been leaned upon in all situations, has played over 100 BCHL games, and picked up 27 wins this season (a recorded history Cents record!). But he still wants to pick up 16 more. The Most Dedicated player on the Merritt Centennials:

Austin Roden

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

As Coach Martin described it, this player fell into his lap because of phone call he decided to take last spring. He liked what he heard, and decided to bring the young man aboard. Since day one he's impressed with his poise, his speed, his skill, and his never say die attitude. He brings a calming influence, and has been leaned on for leadership this season. It will be his first and only year in the BCHL, but he's not ready for it to end yet. Leading the Cents with 32 goals scored and 59 points. The Cents MVP:

Nick Granowicz

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