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SIJHL unveils more award winners including Coach of the Year

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The SIJHL continues to unveil its award winners for the 2019-20 season.

Yesterday the league announced that Robert DeGagne of the Thunder Bay North Stars has been named its Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

He earned the laurels over fellow nominees Geoff Walker of the Red Lake Miners and Wilson Housley of the Thief River Falls Norskies, in voting completed by the league's member teams.

The Thunder Bay native led the North Stars to the SIJHL's regular-season title with a league-best 34-16-4-0 record.

Completing his third year at the helm behind the Stars' bench, DeGagne boasts a 121-32-9-3 mark in that span and includes a Bill Salonen Cup championship in 2018-19, along with a pair of regular season crowns.

This is the second time in three seasons DeGagne has earned this honour, becoming only the fourth person in SIJHL history to be a multi-time recipient of the accolade.

He joins Wayne Strachan (5); Todd Howarth (4) and Rod Aldoff (2) on this list.

With the honour, DeGagne also becomes the SIJHL's nominee for the Canadian Junior Hockey League's Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award, emblematic of CJHL Coach of the Year.

On Monday, the SIJHL announced that Zach Willms of the Red Lake Miners has been named its Top Goaltender Award recipient for the 2019-20 season.

Willms earned the laurels, in voting conducted by each of the SIJHL's member clubs, over fellow nominees Hunter Adams of the Wisconsin Lumberjacks and the Dryden GM Ice Dogs' Jacob Anthony.

The 20-year-old from Camrose, Alta. had a strong campaign for Red Lake as he led all SIJHL netminders in wins (27), goals-against average (2.80) and save percentage (.925) while his three shutouts tied him for second-most in league play.

He also set a SIJHL record for total career victories with 52, surpassing the 51 that both current Buffalo Sabres goalkeeper Carter Hutton (North Stars/Golden Hawks) and Josh Mrakic (Bearcats/Golden Hawks) had in their time in the league.

On Friday, the SIJHL announced that Connor Kalthoff of the Thief River Falls Norskies had been selected as its Top Defenceman Award recipient for the 2019-20 season.

Kalthoff picked up the accolade over fellow nominees Logan Mihalcin of the Thunder Bay North Stars and Carson Lux from the Red Lake Miners, following a voting process completed by each of the league's member clubs.

The 19-year-old Sartell, Mn. native played at a point-per-game pace for Thief River Falls during the campaign with 48 points in as many outings on 13 tallies and 35 assists.

Those numbers led all SIJHL blueliners and also tied him for 11th overall in league offensive production.

Of his 13 goals, six came on the power play, while three others were game-winners.

Kalthoff becomes the first Norskies' rearguard to ever garner this award.

Last Thursday, the SIJHL announced that Shaye Sommerfeld of the Red Lake Miners had been named its Best Defensive Forward award recipient for the 2019-20 campaign.

The 20-year-old from Drayton Valley, Alta. earned the honour over fellow nominees Bryce Johnson of the Thief River Falls Norskies and Jacob Brown of the Thunder Bay North Stars in voting completed by each of the SIJHL's member clubs.

As captain of the Miners, Sommerfeld helped his side defensively in allowing the fewest goals-against in league play during the year, at 176, and boast the second-best penalty kill ratio in the SIJHL at 83.6 per cent.

He also contributed offensively with 20 tallies, including a short-handed goal, and 20 assists.

This marks the second consecutive season a member of the Miners has won this award as Sommerfeld joins last year's recipient, Stratton Pickett in earning the laurels.

Last Wednesday, the SIJHL announced that Thief River Falls Norskies' captain Bryce Johnson has been named the recipient of its Most Sportsmanlike Player Award for the 2019-20 season.

The winner was determined in voting completed by each of the SIJHL's member clubs.

Johnson earned the accolades over fellow nominees Ben Hoefler of the Fort Frances Lakers and Jacob Brown of the Thunder Bay North Stars.

A solid campaign saw the 19-year-old Roseau, Mn. product lead Thief River Falls in offensive production, registering 59 points in 49 outings on 20 tallies and 39 assists, all of which were personal single-season bests in league play.

He also finished fourth in overall SIJHL scoring, while accumulating just four minor penalties on the year.

A veteran of 104 league contests, Johnson boasts 109 points on 39 markers and 70 helpers.

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