CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) honored six individual players during the team’s End-of-Year Season Ticket Holder Banquet on Tuesday evening at the Northshore Country Club. Over 200 season ticket holders and sponsors attended the nearly three-hour event.
Top Scorer – Mason Krueger
The race for the IceRays scoring title came down to two players in the final weekend of the regular season, and three-year veteran Mason Krueger edged out the competition. The captain led the IceRays in assists and in scoring while finishing second in goals during his final junior season, recording 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points through all 60 games. The Bettendorf, Iowa native earned 12 multi-point games including a career-best four-point game on February 16 (goal, 3 assists) and six points over his final two games (2 goals, 4 assists) during Pack The House Weekend. Not only is he one of just a handful of players to play all regular season games but he finishes the year in the top-10 for single-season junior franchise goals, assists and points as well as second in four career categories: goals (43), assists (57), points (100) and games played (173).
Rookie of the Year – Tomáš Vomáčka
With the crop of young talent developing during the season, a few names stuck out for their personal evolution throughout the year. However, in a year when goaltending became the forefront around the South Division, it’s hard to deny goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka the designation of Rookie of the Year. The Trutnov, Czech Republic product flourished in his first season of junior hockey in North America after a strong start in his native country, posting a 19-13-6 record with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage through 41 games with one shutout. Vomáčka earned NAHL South Division Goaltender of the Year as well as NAHL All-Rookie First Team selection, both first-time designations for an IceRays player in junior franchise history.
Defenseman of the Year – Cody Fleckenstein
Four veteran junior defenseman, including three players aging out of their junior eligibility, hosted a deep defensive core that led to one of the best defensive seasons in the franchise’s history, each with their own role and outlook on the game. Working through on-ice achievements and varying approaches, veteran Cody Fleckenstein edged out the rest for Defenseman of the Year. The 20-year-old led the IceRays offensively from a defensive position after joining the team just before the regular season from the USHL, earning 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points through 58 games with a +15 rating. His goal total tied a junior franchise record for goals by a defenseman, and his point total was the second-most in junior franchise history. Fleckenstein also finished in the top-20 among NAHL defensemen for points as well as fourth in goals.
Unsung Hero – David Baskerville
The Unsung Hero Award has become the exemplification of the “heart and soul” player, meaning one who does the little things off the scoresheet and behind the scenes to help make the team successful, and forward David Baskerville took that to heart. The Eden, N.Y. native missed only one game this season and started the year with a NCAA Division I commitment and epitomized the “two-way defenseman” by working as hard in the defensive zone as he did offensively, averaging nearly two blocked shots per game and producing 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) with most of his production coming in the back half of the season after shining as a defensive forward early on.
Community Man of the Year – Brad Power
In a locker room full of high character individuals, forward Brad Power stood out this season as the Community Man of the Year. The two-year forward embraced the Corpus Christi community throughout his time in the Coastal Bend. Not only was he one of the team leaders in community involvement and appearances but he also one of the most eager to give back to the area without a hesitation. His most public contribution throughout the season was his team-leading scoring and point performances, but as hard as he worked off the ice, he put that much effort and more when away from hockey.
Most Valuable Player – Tomáš Vomáčka
Despite being the youngest player on the roster (just turning 18 one week ago), goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka was the backbone of the entire IceRays success this season both during the regular season and throughout the playoffs. The NHL prospect came in with a lot of attention and pressure from his previous work but quickly evolved and rose to the occasion. His goals-against average (2.43) and save percentage (.923) are the best in IceRays junior franchise history, and his win total (19) is the third-most for a single-season and a career in junior franchise history. In addition, he played all eight playoff games, earning a 5-0-3 record with a franchise-best 1.43 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage with two shutouts. Currently, his playoff numbers are the best in the NAHL this postseason. While is individual performances was one of the best in the last seven seasons, his role during games as well as off-ice place him at the top of the list for Most Valuable Player.
Fan Favorite – Tucker White
Corpus Christi has always taken a shine to the bigger, physical players that represent the cross point from the professional franchise to the junior franchise. Defenseman Tucker White not only had that size and physicality but also embraced the city of Corpus Christi as much in return. The former Major Junior defenseman was the perfect merger of defensive and physical play that improved skating ability and defensive strength as the season went on in his final season, and he was quick to spend time with members of the IceRays fanbase and community throughout the season. In each of the last three seasons, the most physical players have coincidentally been named the Fan Favorite, showing that a tough exterior and a soft interior lead to the heart of the IceRays fanbase.
Brad Power Award (Inaugural Presentation)
For the first time, the IceRays added a new award to its individual regiment inspired by the actions of one individual over the season going above and beyond for members of the community beyond the call of duty and being the true embodiment of a well-rounded man. The Brad Power Award was drawn to light by two actions of its first winner and namesake, Brad Power. At the Corpus Christi Art Walk near the beginning of the season, Power volunteered to help a man in a wheelchair walk from downtown Corpus Christi to the new Staples Street bus terminal, which took nearly 40 minutes while on another community appearance for the organization for which he was assigned. The second was near the end of the year when a young IceRays fan, who has skated with Power during every Braselton Homes IceRays Post-Game Skate for the last two seasons, invited him to her birthday party at Get Air Corpus Christi. Again, without hesitating, he went with her family to the event and spent the afternoon near the height of a playoff push jumping around the complex. Those two stories, plus others told from the last two years, pushed the IceRays organization to create a new award given to a player that goes out of his way to touch the lives of community members without looking for public recognition or team obligation and exemplifies what it means to be an upstanding man. The namesake was given the first award: Brad Power.
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