Men’s Lions hockey team hands out 2018-19 awards

The York University Lions men’s hockey team hosted its year-end banquet on April 15 and handed out nine team awards to players and staff from the 2018-19 roster.

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Left to right: Assistant coach Jesse Messier, defenceman Jack Goranson, head coach Russ Herrington and assistant coach Jesse Cook

Now in its second year, after the inaugural event last season, the banquet was attended by York hockey players, coaches, staff, alumni and team supporters. Lions defenceman Jack Goranson received the top award of the night as he was named the Mark Cross Heart of a Lion Award winner. Named in honour of Lions alumnus Mark Cross, who passed away in the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6, 2018, the award is presented to the player who best embodies Mark’s spirit by exhibiting elite levels of character, respect, optimism, sacrifice and selflessness.

A native of Red Deer, Alta., Goranson has grown into one of the Lions’ top defencemen in his three years with the team, playing in 58 games and racking up 12 points (three goals, nine assists). As good as Goranson has played on the ice, he’s been even better inside the classroom as he’s a two-time academic all-Canadian and has earned multiple men’s hockey academic awards and scholarships. He’s also an active member of the York Lions community and just completed his first year as a PAWS mentor for first-year students after serving as a mentor-in-training in 2017-18.

Head coach Russ Herrington presented the Bill Maguire Yeoman’s Service Award to the Lions’ co-ordinator of equipment services, Geoff Carson, for his extraordinary level of dedication, commitment, service and loyalty to the program. One of the hardest working Lions, Carson, who has been with the Lions since 2007 and has been the co-ordinator of equipment services since 2009, spends countless hours before and after practice and games tending to the team’s equipment needs and travels with the team on road trips throughout the season. He not only works with the men’s hockey team but is the co-ordinator of equipment services for all Lions varsity athletics teams.

The remaining seven awards handed out were voted on by the members of the team. Thanks to an outstanding third season with the Lions, captain Scott Feser brought home two awards on the night. He won the Dave Chambers Most Outstanding Player Award, as well as his second consecutive Guy Burry That’s A Lion Award, which is presented to the player who best represents the ideals, values and behaviours of the York Lions men’s hockey program. Feser, who Herrington called the best 200-foot player in the OUA, led the Lions in scoring this year with a career-high 32 points in 28 games, while also leading the team with three game-winning goals and finishing 13th overall in the OUA in points and eighth overall in assists.

Reid Jackman, who signed a professional contract at the end of the season with the Fort Wayne Komets of the East Coast Hockey League, took home the Graham Wise Lasting Legacy Award for his overall impact on the program. Jackman played in 131 regular season games in five years with the Lions and recorded 70 points (35 goals, 35 assists) and 144 penalty minutes. He was named a second-team OUA all-star for the first time last season and leaves York holding the record for most playoff games played (24) in program history.

Goaltender Alex Fotinos was awarded the Bob Hedley Unsung Hero Award for putting forth the greatest effort towards team success while sacrificing his own personal success, while second-year defenceman Sal Filice was named the recipient of the David Kosoy Best Teammate Award.

A pair of back-to-back winners rounded out the awards presentations as Dexter Bricker, the team’s leader with the York Sport Council, was named the recipient of the Bill Purcell Community Leadership Award for the second year in a row while forward Alex Mowbray took home the Ian Macdonald Academic Excellence Award for the second straight year.

The night concluded with the team announcing its leadership group for the 2019-20 season. Joining returning team captain Feser in the four-man group will be Filice, Goranson and forward Morgan Messenger as associate captains.