Young Bruins and their coaches were recognized at this year’s Grand Forks Minor Hockey Association (GFMHA) awards Monday, March 14.
The ceremony went ahead at the GEM Theatre after rainy weather put a damper on the original venue, Gyro Park, according to outgoing GFMHA President Rich Piché.
“It was an awesome night — such a great time,” Piché told The Gazette, noting that GEM owners Maureen and Marius Paquet hosted the event free of charge. “They wouldn’t even accept a donation,” he added.
Kids and adults enjoyed a live performance by Grand Forks’ Mad Dog, featuring lead guitarist Rob Ogloff, lead singer Dave Lafreniere, back up guitarist Clay Brown, bassist Ralph Medd and Piché on the drums.
Emcee Kevin McKinnon handed four awards to players on each of the association’s five teams, plus special awards for notable referees, coaches and select players.
In particular, Piché said this year’s Jeff Verigin Memorial Trophy went to 18-year-old Joaquin Mattick, a young man the president said was exceptionally deserving.
The trophy, aslo known as the President’s Award, goes to outstanding players based on the recommendation of association parents.
“What can I say of Joaquin?” Piché asked.
Mattick played for the association’s U-18 Bruins, refereed younger kids’ games and even took the time to help coach the U-11’s, he answered.
Piché did not run for re-election at the GFMHA’s annual general meeting Tuesday night at The Jack. He’d been happy to serve, but felt it was time to pass the reins to a new president, to be elected this month.
Josh Mace was elected vice president, Piché said.