By Matt Stefano
As the Soo Thunderbirds get to begin their NOJHL West Division final series tonight in Greater Sudbury, the T-Birds have announced yesterday their team award winners for the 2022-2023 regular season.
This year’s award winners were Jackson Truchan (Rookie of the Year), Anton Petrovskiy (Hardest Working Player), Don Stares (T-Birds Staff Award), Kolby Fellinger (Players Player), Austin Fellinger (Most Improved), Kaden Dundas (Best Defenceman), Landon Miller (Scholastic Player) and Dharan Cap (Top Scorer and Team MVP).
JOEY MANCUSO AWARD – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: JACKSON TRUCHAN
During the regular season, rookie forward and Farmington Hills, Michigan native Jackson Truchan led all T-Bird rookies in scoring with 26 goals and 57 points in 47 regular season games.
Truchan, who finished the regular season with 26 goals, also set the new franchise record for most goals by an American-born rookie, passing Josh Leddy (2002-2003), who held the previous record with 22.
Truchan is the first American-born player to win the T-Birds Rookie of the Year Award since Colin Ahern (2018-2019).
ZOLTAN KOVACS SENIOR MEMORIAL TROPHY – HARDEST WORKING PLAYER (DONATED BY BRIAN GUALAZZI & AL JONES): ANTON PETROVSKIY
American-born forward Anton Petrovskiy finished the regular season with 6 goals and 13 points in 46 games.
The 5-foot-11 and 170-pound forward was also one of six players on the T-Birds to score an overtime goal during the regular season.
Petrovskiy, who is from Detroit, Michigan, is the first American-born player to win the T-Birds Hardest Working Player Award since Brandon Gordon (2016-2017).
THUNDERBIRDS STAFF AWARD – HARDEST WORKING STAFF MEMBER: DON STARES
The T-Birds Hardest Working Staff Member Award has only been around for six years, and half of the time it has been awarded to T-Birds staff member Don Stares.
For the third time in six years, T-Birds staff member Don Stares was the recipient of the T-Birds Hardest Working Staff Member Award.
Stares, who works as a security guard during the T-Birds home games, was also the winner of this award back in 2021 and in 2019.
PLAYERS PLAYER AWARD (DONATED BY SOO SPORTS EXCELLENCE): KOLBY FELLINGER
For the second consecutive season, a Soo Thunderbird defenceman was the recipient of the Players Player Award.
Last season it was Kyle Trottier (Now a member of the Timmins Rock), and this season it was Kolby Fellinger.
Fellinger, who is in his second season with the T-Birds, showed great leadership this season both on and off the ice while also serving as one of the team’s assistant captains.
MICHAEL DOAN AWARD – MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: AUSTIN FELLINGER
For the sixth straight season, a Soo Thunderbirds rookie was the recipient of the Michael Doan Award for the Thunderbirds Most Improved Player.
This year’s recipient for the Most Improved Player Award was rookie defenceman and Soo Greyhounds 2021 eleventh round pick Austin Fellinger.
During the regular season, Fellinger scored 5 goals and led all T-Bird blueliners in assists with 27.
Fellinger was also just one of three T-Bird defenceman to score a shortanded goal during the regular season, along with Brodie McConnell-Barker and Kaden Dundas.
DEFENCEMAN OF THE YEAR: KADEN DUNDAS
After putting up 8 goals and 25 assists in 55 games played during the regular season, third-year blueliner Kaden Dundas was named as this year’s Best Defenceman on the Soo Thunderbirds.
Dundas, who finished the regular season with 8 goals and 25 assists, also set career-highs for most goals and assists during a regular season.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native also led all T-Bird blueliners in penalty minutes during the regular season with 38.
JOE ROCCHETTA MEMORIAL AWARD – TOP SCORER: DHARAN CAP
T-Birds forward and North Vancouver, British Columbia native Dharan Cap finished first in team scoring this season with 68 points, including 30 goals and 38 assists in 55 regular season games.
Cap, who finished the regular season with 30 goals, also became the first T-Bird player to score 30 goals in a regular season since Lucas Theriault did back in 2018-2019.
JOHN L. COHEN MEMORIAL AWARD – SCHOLASTIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY TRADERS STEEL): LANDON MILLER
For the second consecutive season, a T-Bird goaltender was named as the team’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
Last season it was Noah Zeppa, and this season it was Landon Miller.
Miller, who is attending Supeior Heights Secondary School, has taken courses this year such as Law, Functions, English, Marketing, Gym & Nurtition and has an overall average of 88%.
Miller is also a 2022 second round pick of the Soo Greyhounds.
SOO GREYHOUND AWARD – MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: DHARAN CAP
This year’s Soo Greyhound Award for the T-Birds Most Valuable Player was awarded to forward Dharan Cap.
Cap, who led the T-Birds in scoring this season, also led the T-Birds this season in power play goals with 13, power play assists with 13, and opening goals of a game with 7.
(Photo of all the Soo Thunderbirds award winners last night at Giovanni’s Restaurant)