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ROBIN SHORT: Nothing short of shocking trio of young hockey stars not up for 2019 awards

Tyler Boland of St. John’s was named the University of New Brunswick’s athlete of the year after leading the Reds to a third straight AUS men’s hockey championship. He led the country in scoring with 20 goals and 28 assists, and the third-year forward was named a first-team AUS All-Star and first-team All-Canadian. — UNB photo
Tyler Boland of St. John’s was named the University of New Brunswick’s athlete of the year after leading the Reds to a third straight AUS men’s hockey championship. He led the country in scoring with 20 goals and 28 assists, and the third-year forward was named a first-team AUS All-Star and first-team All-Canadian. — UNB photo - Contributed

Boland, Connors and Newhook ignored for Sport NL provincial awards

The provincial sports awards for 2019 will be announced shortly, and this corner can’t help but question why some of the best performances amongst Newfoundland and Labrador athletes for the past year have been overlooked.

Perplexed that hockey players Tyler Boland, Maggie Connors and Alex Newhook are not amongst the finalists for the Sport NL awards (the latter two, Connors and Newhook, were St. John’s athletes of the year for 2019).

It’s nothing short of appalling, if not shocking.

Boland, a third-year forward with the University of New Brunswick Reds, led the entire country in scoring with 48 points (20G, 28A) in 30 games in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, helping UNB to a third straight conference championship.

He was a first-team all-Canadian in U Sports national university men's hockey. Last season, in 2018-19, he was a conference second-team all-star and helped lead the Reds to a national championship.

Alex Newhook. — File photo
Alex Newhook. — File photo

Newhook was the junior A British Columbia Hockey League’s top scorer and MVP last season, named the top forward in Canadian junior A hockey for 2018-19 and starred for Canada at the world under-18 championship.

He was one of the Boston College Eagles’ top scorers in U.S. college hockey this season, and was named the NCAA Division I rookie of the year.

Maggie Connors. — File photo
Maggie Connors. — File photo

Connors was a Princeton Tigers’ first-year forward in 2018-19, and like Boland and Newhook stood out.

She was second on the U.S. college hockey Tigers in scoring (with a team-high 26 goals and 43 points), 10th in the NCAA in points per game (1.34), second in the U.S. in goals per game (0.81), first in the nation in power-play goals (10), fourth in the nation in game-winning goals (6), and third in the NCAA in points per game for a freshman (1.34).

Connors was a first-team All-Ivy League all-star and second-team All-ECAC Hockey conference all-star. In addition, she was named to the ECAC All-Rookie team.

None, however, were deemed worthy enough to be considered as finalists for Newfoundland and Labrador senior or junior male or female athlete of the year.

The provincial awards system is one based on a nominating system. Individuals, in other words, are nominated by provincial sport organizations for the awards.

Be it apathy, indifference, ignorance, or petty political bureaucracy, the best from top to bottom have not all been nominated.

It’s a system that’s broken, and requires repair for the 2020 awards.

Nobody asked me, but …

Too bad AHL president Dave Andrews, who may have been the best friend St. John’s ever had during the days of the Maple Leafs and IceCaps, didn’t get to enjoy the sendoff he deserved … Pat Yetman Jr. is 100 per cent bang on when he asks the City of St. John’s not to forget his Yetman’s Arena and Capital Hyundai Arena – two privately-owned hockey rinks – “which have been supplying ice time and recreation services to the kids in town for many, many years.” Yetman is looking for a break of some kind (dunno, perhaps a tax break, or some kind of assistance to purchase equipment). This city may be the only municipality of its size in the country without keys to hockey rinks, but Yetman’s and Capital Hyundai were there to provide ice time … And Speaking of the City of St. John’s. See last week where federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault announced $500 million in pandemic relief to sports, arts and cultural organizations. National sport organizations and institutes will receive $34.5 million, provinces and territories $32.5 million and the Athlete Assistance Program $5 million.

Inquiring minds want to know if St. John’s will be in position to avail of some of that $34.5 million for the 2025 Canada Summer Games.

The city has expressed an interest in playing host to these Games, which are – yes - only five years away.

In terms of facilities, we’re not in bad shape, but there’s a dire need for a new track and field complex. Perhaps it can also host the opening and closing ceremonies, or maybe Mile One Centre can do the trick in that regard.

But a new facility is required for track and field. And the Aquarena was used for swimming and diving the last times the Games were here, in 1977.

Given the financial duress in which the city and province finds themselves – or will soon finds themselves — a chunk from the $34.5 million for Canada Games will come in real handy …

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email robin.short@thetelegram.com Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort

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