Tristen Nielsen (left) and Cole Shepard each received three individual honours at the 2019-20 Vancouver Giants awards (file)

Tristen Nielsen (left) and Cole Shepard each received three individual honours at the 2019-20 Vancouver Giants awards (file)

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants fans and players honoured at annual awards

It may not have been a complete season, but it was still a good outing for the Langley-based team

Season ticket holders Tony Edelsward and his wife Tapestry Andrews were confident the Vancouver Giants were championship-bound before the coronavirus crisis brought the season to a premature end.

Tapestry actually booked a week off for the Memorial Cup a year in advance.

“Watching how the team grew and came together especially in the second half, it was great,” Tapestry commented.

“We have no doubt that the team could have carried that momentum right through the playoffs and into the Memorial Cup,” said Tony.

Tony and Tapestry were named 2019-20 Season Ticket Holders of the Year at the annual Giants awards on Monday, April 20.

At the awards, players Tristen Nielsen and Cole Shepard both received three individual honours while Bowen Byram and Alex Kannok Leipert each received two.

Who won what:

Jock McGrandle Volunteer of the Year: Ken Melech

Ken Melech has volunteered with the Langley-based Giants for the past seven years.

“He’s one of the most passionate, helpful and positive individuals that we have had the good fortune of working alongside over the years. He’s long been a trusted, valued contributor to the success of the Vancouver Giants and the Giants are thrilled to recognize him with this award,” the team posted online.

Players Choice Award(s): Milos Roman (1999 – F) / Jackson Shepard (2000 – F)

A very special award chosen by the Vancouver Giants players. It’s one thing to be recognized by your coaches, but it’s a special honour to be recognized by your peers and teammates. Milos Roman scored 24 goals while adding 23 assists and a +17 rating. Jackson Shepard scored seven goals while adding 12 assists for 19 points and 65 penalty minutes.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Record-setting win by Giants over Americans

Three Stars Awards: Bowen Byram (2001 – D), David Tendeck (1999 – G), Tristen Nielsen (2000 – F)

Over the course of the season, these three players received the most three-star selections for both home and road games. Fitting that one goaltender, one defencemen and one forward received this award.

Sultan Thiara Plus-Minus Award: Justin Sourdif (2002 – F)

Despite being only a two-year veteran of the league, Justin Sourdif led all Giants with a +30 rating. During his two-year tenure in the WHL he’s a career +57. He scored 26 goals and added 28 assists for a new season high of 54 points. He is considered a top-end prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Unsung Hero Award: Seth Bafaro (2000 – D)

Seth Bafaro appeared in all 62 games for the Giants. He scored four goals and added 18 assists for 22 points while adding 60 penalty minutes. But so many of Seth’s contributions don’t need a stat-sheet. He killed penalties, blocked shots, and battled hard for his teammates every night.

Bublé Iron Man Award: Alex Kannok Leipert (2000 – D)

The Giants captain dressed in all 62 games in 2019-20 and has missed just one game total over his past two WHL seasons. He had three goals, 19 assists was a +17 with 60 penalty minutes.

Most Improved Player Award: Tristen Nielsen (2000 – F)

Tristen Nielsen enjoyed a 30-point improvement from the 2018-19 season. He went on to lead the Giants in both goals (30) and points (65).

Graduating Player Awards: Milos Roman (1999 – F), Tyler Preziuso (1999 – F), David Tendeck (1999 – G)

Milos Roman and David Tendeck both spent their entire WHL careers with the Vancouver Giants while Tyler Preziuso joined the Giants in December after a trade with Medicine Hat. Roman ranks second all-time in Vancouver Import scoring, David Tendeck ranks first all-time in franchise saves, and is second in both wins and games played. Tyler Preziuso’s 327 career WHL games were the most of any active WHL player from the past season. All three have left behind a tremendous legacy that will continue to be felt as the organization moves forward.

Save-On-Foods High School Scholastic Player of the Year: Cole Shepard (2002 – F)

Cole came into this season with an A average and maintained that standard throughout the school year. In PreCalculus, Anatomy and Physiology and English, his teachers have described him as a “conscientious, determined student.” Cole’s commitment to his studies is an example that many young players should strive to follow.

Post-Secondary Academic Player of the Year: Trent Miner (2001 – G)

Trent has been an exemplary student since his time in high school, where he balanced in-class and online courses in two provinces, taking more courses at once than any Giant has for several years. Now in post-secondary studies, Trent is combining traditional academic courses in Psychology at TWU, with flight school courses at his home-town flying club in Manitoba. Trent’s grades at TWU have consistently been in the mid-90s. He is a diligent and outstanding student.

White Spot Humanitarian of the Year Award: Tristen Nielsen (2000 – F)

Tristen Nielsen was the go-to player for community initiatives this season. Since September, the Vancouver Giants players and staff visited countless elementary schools throughout the Lower Mainland promoting the “Be a Giant” initiative. While all non-school players participated in this initiative, Tristen Nielsen was the only player that the staff trusted to lead these visits on his own, without any staff help. Nielsen has also taken the lead by becoming the Vancouver Giants ambassador for Hockey Gives Blood and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Giants winning streak ends at 11

Most Sportsmanlike Player Award: Cole Shepard (2002 – F)

Cole Shepard posted 11 goals and 29 points through 50 games while only posting 16 penalty minutes. He competes hard and plays with a lot of finesse and skill, but didn’t hurt his team with unnecessary penalties.

Pat Quinn Defenceman of the Year Award: Bowen Byram (2001 – D)

With 52 points through 50 games, Bowen Byram led all Giants defencemen in goals (14) and points. He also finished with a +19 rating and a team-high 76 penalty minutes. He’s trusted in every situation and has now captured this award in back-to-back seasons.

Milan Ilich Rookie of the Year Award: Cole Shepard (2002 – F)

Cole Shepard led all Giants rookies in both goals (11) and points (29). He did so while appearing in 50 games. This was Shepard’s third award of the day for the Vancouver Giants.

Bruce Allen Inspirational Leadership Award: Alex Kannok Leipert (2000 – D)

The Giants captain provided reliable minutes in all situations this season for the Giants. In so many ways he personifies the identity of the Vancouver Giants. This was Alex Kannok Leipert’s second award of the day.

Gordie Howe Top Scorer Award: Tristen Nielsen (2000 – F)

He led the Giants offensively with a new season high of 30 goals and 65 points. He added a +28 rating, nine power play goals and two shorthanded tallies. This marked Nielsen’s third individual award of the day.

P.C. Toigo Most Valuable Player Award: Bowen Byram (2001 – D)

For a second straight season Bowen Byram is named MVP of the Vancouver Giants. His 14 goals and 52 points ranked him fourth in overall scoring, but at all ends of the ice and in all situations, Bowen Byram could be trusted to lead the team with his actions and his words.

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