Two Pontiacs nominated for AJHL awards

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As the season winds down two Bonnyville Pontiacs are being recognized for their accomplishments.

Rookie Jake Gresh and captain Ryan Symington have both been nominated for Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) awards.

Gresh is one of four players vying for the Dick White Trophy, which is awarded to the AJHL Rookie of the Year.

“It’s obviously a great honour,” explained Gresh. “When I heard about it I was pretty excited, but whatever way it goes I am happy I was nominated.”

The other three players who are up for this award are Kyler Kupka of the Camrose Kodiaks, Oliver Chau who plays for the Brooks Bandits, and Austin McGrath from the Lloydminster Bobcats.

The native of Avon, Connecticut has recorded 33 points in his first 45 games this season (as of Feb. 16), which is first among rookie defenceman in the league.

“We know that Jake came to the AJHL to round out his game. You don’t question that Jake is a special player because how elite he skates . That and his offensive ability are the strengths that he has,” explained head coach Rick Swan.

The last, and only, Bonnyville Pontiac to win this award was Justin Fontaine during the 2005-2006 season.

Earlier on in the season, Gresh committed to Alaska Fairbanks, Division 1 NCAA School for the 2018-2019 season.

Symington has been nominated for the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the Most Dedicated Player in the AJHL.

“It’s definitely a huge honour to be nominated for an award, but to make the top four is huge for me. It’s really good and all of my teammates had lots of congratulations for me, which was nice,” said Symington.

Other players nominated are Ben Assad from the Calgary Canucks, Logan Ferguson of the Canmore Eagles and Morgan Messenger from the Whitecourt Wolverines.

“What can you say about a guy who is the face of your organization? He is the identity of what this team stands for with respect to playing to sellout every shift by competing and working hard. He is a character kid,” explained Swan. “I hope he wins it because he is the epitome of what the award is all about.”

The 20-year-old veteran recorded 71 points in 148 career games (as of Feb. 16).

Kevin Carthy was the last Pontiac to win this award during the 2010-2011 AJHL season. To this point, he is the only Pontiac who has won this award.

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