NA3HL announces 2020-21 season awards
The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced its award winners for the 2020-21 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 2020-21 season.
Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year: Peyton Hart, Rochester Grizzlies
Hart, 19, who will begin his NCAA college career this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, led the Grizzlies in scoring this season, which included 21 goals and 27 assists for 48 points during the 2020-21 regular season. In the playoffs, the 6’2/195 lbs. native of Delafield, WI, helped the Grizzlies to the Central Division playoff title and a spot in the Fraser Cup Championship game with 11 points in nine playoff games. He leaves the Grizzlies as their all-time leader in assists (83), games played (142) and short-handed goals (8) and is tied for the most points in team history (140), is second in plus-minus (+104) and third in goals scored (57). Watch: Peyton Hart Highlights
Defenseman of the Year: Cal Nauss, North Iowa Bulls
Nauss, 20, was second in team scoring during the 2020-21 regular season with 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists) in 40 games played. The 6’4/190 lbs. native of Wayzata, MN, who is committed to play NCAA hockey for St. Mary’s University if the fall, also had four points in nine Fraser Cup Playoff games, helping the Bulls for the Fraser Cup Championship. In 83 career NA3HL games with the Bulls, Nauss recorded 66 points and also played in the 2020 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament. Watch: Cal Nauss Highlights
Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Year: Shane Soderwall, Rochester Grizzlies
Soderwall, 18, finished the 2020-21 regular season with a 19-2-0 record, a 1.30 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and six shutouts, which all led the NA3HL. He backstopped the Grizzlies to the league championship game, going 7-2-0 with a 1.69 GAA and a .935 save percentage in nine playoff games. The 6’1/175 lbs. native of Algonquin, IL, signed a tender to play for the Anchorage Wolverines in the North American Hockey League for the 2021-22 season. Watch: Shane Soderwall Highlights
Rookie of the Year: Carsen Stokes, North Iowa Bulls
Stokes, 19, joined the Bulls in February and had an immediate impact the remainder of the 2020-21 season. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of Prior Lake, MN, appeared in eight games during the regular season and posted a 2.55 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. However, it was the Fraser Cup Playoffs where Stokes did the most damage as he led the Bulls to the Fraser Cup National Championship, posting a 8-1-1 record in the playoffs with a 1.39 goals against average and a .952 save percentage while being named MVP of the 2021 Fraser Cup Championship. Watch: Carsen Stokes Highlights
Coach of the Year: Chris Ratzloff, Rochester Grizzlies
Ratzloff helped the Grizzlies to the second-best record in the NA3HL during the 2020-21 season with a 34-5-1 mark in 40 games, which was good for the club’s second consecutive Central Division regular season title. The Grizzlies then went onto win the Central Division playoff crown and made it all the way to the Fraser Cup Championship game. Under Ratzloff’s watch, six Grizzlies players have committed to play NCAA hockey to date and two more have signed NAHL tenders.
General Manager of the Year: Todd Sanden, North Iowa Bulls
Sanden, who also serves as head coach for the Bulls, had another extraordinary year and again built the team in a Championship contender and eventual winner. The Bulls captured regular season and playoff titles in the always tough West Division and then won their fourth Fraser Cup National Championship in the last eight years. Sanden constructed a Bulls team that has seen five players make NCAA commitments to date and three more sign NAHL tenders for next season. In addition, the Bulls once again led the NA3HL in attendance during a difficult season where restrictions were in place.
Organization of the Year: Rochester Grizzlies
Under the ownership of Mike Cooper and Craig Patrick, who also own the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, in just three seasons the Grizzlies have gone from being a brand-new franchise in the NA3HL to playing in the Fraser Cup National Championship Game this past season. This past season, the Grizzlies won the Central Division regular season and playoff titles with the second-best record in the league. They finished runner-up for the Fraser Cup Championship. The NA3HL’s MVP and Goaltender of the Year both came from the Grizzlies and they also had the NA3HL Coach of the Year in Chris Ratzloff. The team saw six players have commit to play NCAA hockey to date and two more have signed NAHL tenders.
Apex Learning Virtual School Academic Achievement Award: Victor Nukovic, Gillette Wild
Nukovic, 18, was accepted into several Ivy League schools with a GPA of over 4.0. He chose to attend the University of Vermont to study to become an allergist. On the ice, he made an impact as a rookie defenseman with 12 points in 37 games played during the 2020-21 season.
Community Service Award: Nick Wracker, Northeast Generals
Northeast Generals captain Nick Wracker, 19, stepped up during a difficult year because of Covid and continued to lead the charge in the community. Keeping protocols in mind and at the forefront, Wracker continued to go to local schools and helped organize a Clean Up Attleboro campaign where Generals players would go out and pick up trash at the schools and playgrounds to ensure the kids had a safe and clean environment to play outdoors at.
Leadership Award: Cole Madzey, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks
Madzey, 21, served as the team captain for Danbury the past two seasons and was faced with innumerable challenges this year due to COVID and the unpredictable season that younger teammates faced and Madzey remained unwavering. He had his best season statistically on the ice and also served as a role model for the entire team both on and off the ice. He participated in the Jr. Hat Tricks community outreach program by assisting the Danbury Youth Services throughout the season. He also volunteered at Danbury Arena helping with youth and adult hockey programs. This was particularly important this year because many programs had limited assistance due to COVID restrictions.
All-NA3HL 1st Team
Forward: Jacob Cummings, Sheridan Hawks
Forward: Peyton Hart, Rochester Grizzlies
Forward: Carson Jones, North Iowa Bulls
Defense: Gunner Moore, Atlanta Capitals
Defense: Cal Nauss, North Iowa Bulls
Goalie: Shane Soderwall, Rochester Grizzlies
All-NA3HL 2nd Team
Forward: Matt DeRosa, Rochester Grizzlies
Forward: Cole Schneider, El Paso Rhinos
Forward: Carson Simon, Granite City Lumberjacks
Defense: Blake Arneson, Rochester Grizzlies
Defense: Deacon More, Northeast Generals
Goaltender: Carsen Stokes, North Iowa Bulls
All-NA3HL 3rd Team
Forward: Tyler Blanchard, Texas Brahmas
Forward: Artem Korolev, Oklahoma City Hockey Club
Forward: Declan Young, Gillette Wild
Defense: Jack Craycroft, Peoria Mustangs
Defense: Owen Miley, Missoula Jr. Bruins
Goaltender: Trever Mellen, Great Falls Americans
All-NA3HL Rookie 1st Team
Forward: Brandon Avezov, New Jersey Titans
Forward: Liam Bland, Missoula Jr. Bruins
Forward: Ethan Chesney, Peoria Mustangs
Defense: Simon Herz, Sheridan Hawks
Defense: Gino Sessa, El Paso Rhinos
Goaltender: Carsen Stokes, North Iowa Bulls
All-NA3HL Rookie 2nd Team
Forward: Jared Bratton, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Forward: Nicholas Cyprian, Atlanta Capitals
Forward: Pablo Frank, Missoula Jr. Bruins
Defense: Dakota Kott, Sheridan Hawks
Defense: Ibrahim Arifi, Peoria Mustangs
Goaltender: Dolan Gilbert, Texas Brahmas