NA3HL announces 2019-20 season awards
April 2, 2020
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced its award winners for the 2019-20 season, which include: Most Valuable Player, Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year, along with its All-NA3HL 1st, 2nd, 3rd and All-Rookie Teams, Community Service, Leadership and Academic Award. The awards are voted on by the league’s head coaches and general managers, based upon performance during the 2019-20 regular season.
Most Valuable Player & Forward of the Year: Kolye Bankauskas, Northeast Generals
Northeast Generals and Top Prospects forward Kolye Bankauskas, 19, put an assault on the NA3HL record books this season. The 5’11/160 lbs. native of Coventry, Rhode Island, led the NA3HL in scoring this season with 138 points in 47 games played. Bankauskas set a new NA3HL single-season record with 69 goals and his point total of 138 is the third highest in any NA3HL single season. Bankauskas, who is tendered to play in the NAHL next season with the NAHL’s Generals, was named the Forward of the Month twice during the season and has appeared in the past two NA3HL Top Prospects Tournaments in 2019 and 2020.
Defenseman of the Year: Derek Flynn, New England Stars
New England Stars defenseman Derek Flynn, 20, made his third and final season in the NA3HL his best. The 5’10/185 lbs. native of Dracut, Massachusetts led all NA3HL blueliners with 58 points (16 goals, 42 assists) this season. Flynn was also selected to and played in the 2020 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament for the Coastal Division team, where he had a goal in three games. It was the second Top Prospects Tournament he has taken part in, as he also appeared in the 2018 event. Flynn, who is committed to play NCAA hockey for the University of Southern New Hampshire, recorded 127 points in 130 career NA3HL games.
Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Year: Mathias Backstrom, Rochester Grizzlies
Rochester goalie Mathias Backstrom, 19, put up some big numbers this season as he backstopped the Grizzlies to the Central Division regular season title. The 5’8/160 lbs. native of Malmo, Sweden, posted an 18-5-0 record in 24 appearances this season, which included four shutouts. Backstrom was 2nd in the NA3HL with a .939 save percentage and a 3rd in goals against average with a 1.55 mark. Backstrom was named the NA3HL’s Goaltender of the Month in September and December.
Rookie of the Year: Lucas Wahlin, North Iowa Bulls
North Iowa Bulls rookie forward Lucas Wahlin, 18, had a breakout first season of junior hockey. The 5’11/165 lbs. native of Woodbury, Minnesota, recorded 59 points (32 goals, 27 assists) in just 38 NA3HL games this season with the Bulls. Wahlin, who has signed an NAHL tender agreement to play for the Kenai River Brown Bears next season, was the star of the 2020 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, recording 10 points in just three games for the West Division. Wahlin also appeared in eight NAHL games this season with both Kenai River and the Jamestown Rebels, recording five points in eight NAHL games.
Coach of the Year: Ryan Anderson, Texas Brahmas
Anderson guided the defending Fraser Cup Champion Texas Brahmas to the best record in the NA3HL during the 2019-20 regular season. Texas posted a 40-5-2 record during the season, which also included a 22-game point streak to end the season. Like their NAHL counterparts, the Lone Star Brahmas, the Texas Brahmas also boasted the best defense in the NA3HL, allowing just 81 goals in 47 games this season. The also saw over a dozen players skate or play with NAHL teams this season.
General Manager of the Year: Bryan Erikson, Northeast Generals
The Northeast Generals continued to take advantage of the Ladder of Development with their NAHL team and have skyrocketed up the NA3HL standings to become one of the best teams in the league this season. The architect of it all was team General Manager Bryan Erikson, who also serves as the NAHL’s Generals Head Coach. Erikson has been instrumental in the construction of both teams and the depth that exists within the organization. On the ice, the NA3HL’s Generals were one of only two teams to win 40 games. Beyond the ice, several NA3HL players from the Generals got call-ups to the NAHL this season.
Organization of the Year: North Iowa Bulls
The North Iowa Bulls moved back to the top of the always tough West Division this season, which solidified their place as a perennial NA3HL powerhouse. However, beyond the 1st place 38-7-2 record, the Bulls have been at the forefront of player advancement and fan development. In terms of advancement, the Bulls have seen an NA3HL-leading 11 players make college commitments this season, including nine players to the NCAA. The Bulls also their continue their advancement to the NAHL as an NA3HL-best five players have signed NAHL tenders for next season. Lastly, if it was possible to increase the support of their fan base, the Bulls move into their new state-of-the-art arena in Mason City will help them bolster their league-leading attendance number of over 1,100+ fans per game.
Apex Learning Virtual School Academic Achievement Award: Isaac Ellingson, Helena Bighorns
Helena Bighorns forward Isaac Ellingson, 18, was a senior in high school, attending Helena High School while playing for the Bighorns during the 2019-20 campaign. The 5’8/151 lbs. native of Crosby, North Dakota, earned a 3.9 grade point average and was selected as a Helena High School Bengal Pound Award for demonstrating the four universal standards of being involved, respectful, responsible, and being a graduate. On the ice, the NAPHL grad, was 3rd in team scoring with 44 points, while playing in all 47 games this season.
Community Service Award: Brandon Connett, Alexandria Blizzard
Connett, 20, practiced and help coach the Special Olympic Hockey team in Alexandria, helping to conduct practices and pushed players on sleds. Connett also participated in the local Alzheimer’s Walk and Christmas Parade, where he also helped serve dinner at the Senior Citizen Center. He also passed out Candy at the Halloween Parade and Haunted House. Connett also took time out to work and volunteer with an after school compass program with local elementary schools in town. Connett also received a Service Award from the Alexandria Youth Hockey Association for all his work he has done this year. This year marked the first time that they have given this award to anybody. "I’ve had two players win this award in the past eight years and Brandon has gone well beyond the things they did. I’ve never had a player accomplish the things he has done in the community this year,” said Blizzard head coach Jeff Crouse. Connett, who is an NAPHL grad, was named to the All-NA3HL 2nd Team this season and is committed to play NCAA hockey for the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Leadership Award: Porter Haney, Rochester Grizzlies
Haney, 20, was one of the Alternate Captains this year and his quiet leadership was felt throughout the season. It was particularly noticed when he was out for five games during January and although the Grizzlies went 4-1 in those games, the team was a little off. Haney also worked part time and had 50+ hours of volunteering, working with Habitat for Humanity, Elementary Schools, Rochester Raiders Adaptive Soccer team, SACC Open Skating and more. Haney stepped up to coordinate the team volunteering efforts making sure assignments were covered. “Porter exemplifies what being a Grizzlies player means and we will miss him next year,” stated Grizzlies head coach Chris Ratzloff.
All-NA3HL 1st Team
Forward: Kolye Bankauskas, Northeast Generals
Forward: Matt Dahlseide, North Iowa Bulls
Forward: Lucas Wahlin, North Iowa Bulls
Defense: Derek Flynn, New England Stars
Defense: Michael Heitkamp, Rochester Grizzlies
Goaltender: Mathias Backstrom, Rochester Grizzlies
All-NA3HL 2nd Team
Forward: Carson Asper, Northeast Generals
Forward: Brandon Connett, Alexandria Blizzard
Forward: Bailey Sommers, Granite City Lumberjacks
Defense: Noel Parker, Rochester Grizzlies
Defense: Harrison Stewart, North Iowa Bulls
Goaltender: Bryce Runyan, Texas Brahmas
All-NA3HL 3rd Team
Forward: Steven Gerbis, Northeast Generals
Forward: Sean Hofstetter, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Forward: Parker Severson, Coulee Region Chill
Defense: Joey Boccardi, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Defense: Trevor Christopher, Skylands Kings
Goaltender: Michael Allman, Yellowstone Quake
All-NA3HL Rookie 1st Team
Forward: Parker Severson, Coulee Region Chill
Forward: Lucas Wahlin, North Iowa Bulls
Forward: Declan Young, Gillette Wild
Defense: Spencer Platt, Yellowstone Quake
Defense: Nick Pomerleau, L/A Nordiques
Goaltender: Kayden Hargraves, Texas Brahmas
All-NA3HL Rookie 2nd Team
Forward: Joseph Arnold, Skylands Kings
Forward: Nolan Murphy, New England Knights
Forward: Garrett Wilderman, Texas RoadRunners
Defense: Jeremy Brassard, Skylands Kings
Defense: Richard Indermill, Texas Brahmas
Goaltender: Joey Greilich, Milwaukee Power