CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its All-Division teams and honors for the 2014-15 season, and two IceRays players were recognized for their efforts. Forward Wes Michaud was named 1st Team All-South Division, and defenseman Travis Howe earned the South Division Community Service Award.
“It’s an honor and a big thing here in South Texas,” said Michaud. “The South Division is one of the best in the NAHL, and getting honored for that in the South Division is huge. I’m very glad I got the opportunity to play in the South Division. I got off to a strong start this year and was able to keep it going strong the rest of the way.”
“I’m more thankful than anything,” said Howe. “As much as we did off the ice as a whole team, we got to meet some pretty cool people and do a lot of fun stuff. I know the hours are long or early in the morning, but in the end it’s all worth it. The Corpus Christi community is incredible. There are no better fans than what we have. Overall, it’s a stand-up community, and everyone sticks together.”
Michaud, 19, had one of the best individual performances over the past five seasons of junior hockey. In 58 games, the Cloquet, Minn., native earned 30 goals and 43 assists for 73 points with 10 power play goals and a +17 rating. He led the team in every major scoring category as well as in power play goals, power play points (28), and game-winning goals (six). In addition, he placed third in the NAHL in scoring and goals while holding fourth in assists. His major scoring numbers broke team records that were set in the 2012-13 season.
“We’re obviously in a really good division with very high-end players, so I think it’s certainly a compliment to Wes to be named to one of the three [All-South Division] forwards,” said IceRays head coach John Becanic. “All three forwards were top-four in the league [in scoring], so competition is stiff. It’s a good way for him to go out getting that kind of accomplishment, and it’s good for the program to have someone named 1st Team All-South Division.”
Howe, 21, was known on the ice for his physical play and fighting prowess among co-South Division combatants, but his off-the-ice contribution to the Corpus Christi community helped him be recognized not only by the team but in the South Division. The Falmouth, Mass., native led all IceRays players in man hours in the community with over 70 hours this season and was recognized by the IceRays by being given the team Community Man of the Year Award at the end of the season. IceRays fans and Corpus Christi community also held him to high esteem and quickly became a fan favorite.
“Its what you hear in the hockey world,” said Becanic. “The tough guys on the ice are usually gentle giants away from the rink. His impact was felt instantly on arriving here. Whatever he partook in outside of the rink or what he volunteered for, he received very favorable compliments. He was gracious to the community, he was very good with young kids, and it showed how committed he was to whatever the volunteering may be for. He certainly left a strong impact in the community for years to come. He could very well go down as one of the most beloved IceRays players in history.”
The remainder of the NAHL 2014-15 season awards will be announced on Monday, April 27. Such awards include the All-NAHL Teams, Most Valuable Player, Forward of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Vaughn Goaltender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year, Organization of the Year, the Academic Achievement Award, and the Community Service Award.
The 2015 IceRays Pre-Draft Camp begins Friday, May 29 from the Taylor Sportsplex in Taylor, Mich. to prepare for the 2015-16 season. Get more information on camp details and stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.goicerays.com. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), and Vine (@goicerays).