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BIHWA Awards and Hall of Fame

News posted: 04-04-2006

The British Ice Hockey Writers Association (BIHWA) are pleased to announce the winners of the 23rd annual BIHWA Awards.

The BIHWA Awards are the most prestigious in the sport, voted on by the journalists who cover the game throughout the season.

Players in the two senior leagues, the Elite and the English Premier, are eligible for the Awards which are made in three categories - the best player and coach, all-star teams, and the best home-grown players at each position (goal, defence, forward) and aged under 21.

BIHWA is grateful to Igloo who have sponsored the Vic Batchelder Memorial Trophy for the best British under-21 player. The trophies will be presented to the players on the ice at the respective leagues' 2006 Playoff Finals weekends.

Player of the Year

Elite League
Theoren Fleury, Belfast Giants.

The most famous and talented NHL player to come to this country led the Giants to their first Elite League title and was the league's leading scorer in points (74) and assists (52).

His reading of the game and superb passing skills also helped his line-mates, Ed Courtenay and George Awada, to finish right behind him in league scoring. He twice had seven points in a game, which is believed to be a league record.

The 37-year-old from Oxbow, Saskatchewan was brought to Britain by Canadian Jim Yaworski, Giants' new co-owner who befriended Theo in his days as a Stanley Cup winner with the Calgary Flames.

English Premier
League Kyle Amyotte, Romford Raiders.

Canadian Amyotte, 27, is the leading scorer in the English Premier League for a second time, his tally this term of 54 goals and 115 points in 47 league games is a personal best.

He has been the top sniper with every team he's played on since Romford first brought him to this country in season 2000-01. Last year he had to settle for second place on the Raiders' chart after sustaining severe facial damage which put him out of action for two months.

This is his third season with Romford whom he rejoined last term after three years with Chelmsford Chieftains and Wightlink (Isle of Wight) Raiders.

Coach of the Year

Elite League
Rob Wilson, Newcastle Vipers
His man-management skills were the key to the Elite League's newest team finishing as runners-up. With the team re-financed in his third year as coach, he was able to blend the best of the north-east's home-grown talent into their overseas contingent (including a couple of 'tough guys') and create a team that no other side looked forward to meeting.

A consummate professional, he also played in all Vipers' league games and is a co-owner of the club. Wilson, 37, a dual-national British-Canadian from Toronto, retired from international play in 2004 after six World Championships on defence and a spell as GB's captain. He previously played with Sheffield Steelers, Manchester Storm and Newcastle Jesters.

English Premier League
Stan Marple, Guildford Flames.

The master-mind behind the Flames' domination of the English Premier League which they won by 20 points, losing only six of their 48 games.

Canadian Marple, like his fellow Coach of the Year winner, also encouraged native talent and many under-19s played prominent roles on the team.

He first came to this country in season 1994-95, joining Basingstoke Beavers in the old British League, Premier Division. He took over as Flames' coach three years later after sweeping the board with the one-season Swindon IceLords. This is his third league title with the Flames.

All-Star Teams

Elite League
First team:

goal - Trevor Koenig (Newcastle);
defence - Neal Martin (Coventry), Jan Krajicek (Newcastle);
forwards - Theo Fleury (Belfast), Ed Courtenay (Belfast), Evan Cheverie (Coventry).

Second team:
goal - Mike Minard (Belfast);
defence - Todd Kelman (Belfast), Jonathan Weaver (Newcastle);
forwards - Mark Dutiaume (Sheffield), Tony Hand (Edinburgh), George Awada (Belfast).


English Premier League
First team:

goal - Pasi Raitanen (Sheffield);
defence - Paul Dixon (Guildford), Marian Smerciak (Guildford);
forwards - Kyle Amyotte (Romford), Gary Clarke (Milton Keynes), Claude Dumas (Telford).

Second Team:
goal- Joe Watkins (Guildford);
defence - Kyle Horne (Slough), Mindaugas Kieras (Milton Keynes);
forwards - Jozef Kohut (Guildford), Milos Melicherik (Guildford), Marek Hornak (Swindon).

British Awards

Best Goalie
Joe Watkins, Guildford Flames

One of the country's top home-grown netminders, Joe's sparkling save percentage of 92.8 was one of the key reasons why Flames captured the English Premier League title in their first season. He also had two shutouts.

Born in Durham and raised in the hockey hotbed of north-east England, Joe has been capped 25 times for GB, most recently in last year's World Championships in Hungary when his club side was London Racers of the Elite League.

Best Defenceman (Alan Weeks Trophy)
Jonathan Weaver, Newcastle Vipers
The 29-year-old GB international from Sunderland is universally recognised as one of our leading indigenous players, finishing ninth in Elite League scoring with 48 points while playing mainly in defence.

He presented the voters with a bit of a puzzle as he is officially listed by Vipers as a left wing/defender. Originally a forward, Jonathan's wide range of skills were first deployed on the blue line by former GB coach Chris McSorley. Those who were privileged to watch his rushes down the wing from deep inside his own zone know how important he was to Vipers' surprising first year success.

Alan Weeks was a BBC sports commentator for 45 years and secretary of the Brighton Tigers ice hockey club from 1946 to 1965. He was one of the sport's most influential supporters.

Best Forward and Top Scorer
Tony Hand, Edinburgh Capitals

The UK's most talented home-grown player, not only retained the trophy he first won last year with Belfast Giants, he was also a strong contender for the writers' Elite League Player of the Year title.

The 38-year-old Edinburgh native ended fourth in league scoring, right behind Belfast's Big Three, despite playing on a low budget side that finished dead last. One has to wonder how many points Capitals might have gained without the UK's own Great One. His 51 points meant he featured in almost half of Caps' 118 goals. He also found time to be his team's co-coach.

Hand also won the Top British Scorer (League) Trophy, which is sponsored by The Ice Hockey Annual.

For new fans, Hand turned pro at the age of 14 and was the first British born and trained player to be drafted by the NHL.

Best under-21 Player (Vic Batchelder Memorial Trophy)
Nathan Craze, Belfast
The Welsh teenager played in only 12 games for Elite League champs, Belfast Giants, but he chalked up a save percentage of 92.8 and greatly impressed his coach, Ed Courtenay.

On his debut for Giants in October, shortly before his 19th birthday, he faced 132 shots in three games but conceded only eleven goals as Giants earned two wins and a draw. "Nathan was outstanding," said Courtenay.

Craze who was inspired to become a goalie when he was taken to a Devils' game for an eighth birthday treat, was voted the tournament's best netminder when GB won the gold medal in the 2004 World under-18 Championships (Div II).

Vic Batchelder was the editor for 18 years of the respected fortnightly magazine, Ice Hockey News Review. He died in 2001, aged 61.


Hall of Fame

The British Ice Hockey Writers Association inducts players and other individuals into the Hall of Fame each year in recognition of their outstanding service to British ice hockey.

The current Hall was established by BIHWA in 1986, reviving the original one which was created in 1950. A full list of members is on our website at www.bihwa.co.uk

PAUL ADEY's long and distinguished career in Britain was spent almost entirely with Nottingham Panthers where he is their all-time leading points scorer.

He joined the club in season 1988-89 and, as their top marksman, he led them to their finest hour of the modern era, the Heineken British Championships at Wembley Arena. In his eleven seasons in the black-and-gold he tallied 801 goals and 1,547 points in 626 official games. He went on to win four Autumn Cups with the Panthers.

Paul was born in Montreal, Canada on 28 August 1963. He arrived in Nottingham after attending a training camp for the NHL's Hartford Whalers. He had been selected to play for the Canadian Olympic team but was sidelined with an injury.

Canada’s loss was Britain’s gain as he became a valued member of the GB national team for six years from 1995, ending as their fifth highest scorer in the sport’s modern era with 52 points (28 goals) in 55 games.

He topped the scoring in three major internationals - the Olympic Qualifiers in 1995-96 and 2000, and the 1996 World Championships. He was runner-up in three later World tournaments.

Adey went to Italy for the 1999-2000 season to play for Milan before returning to the UK and spending his final playing season with Panthers’ arch-rivals, Sheffield Steelers.

He was back on Lower Parliament Street the following year as coach of the Panthers, and led them to a Challenge Cup victory over the Steelers in their first Elite League campaign. He also took Panthers to six semi-finals in his three seasons behind the bench.

The club have honoured Adey’s achievements and loyalty by raising his no. 22 shirt to the rafters of the National Ice Centre. The tribute to him on their website reads: 'He is and will always be one of the all-time great Nottingham Panthers.'



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