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 Monday evening at the American Bank Center. Just over 200 season ticket holders and sponsors attended the festivities.
Top Scorer – Drake Lindsay
The IceRays had two players come very close to this year’s Top Scorer, the award for the most points accumulated over the course of the season. Forward Drake Lindsay, 20, closed out his junior career leading the team in assists and points, recording 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points through 56 games. The Grosse, Man., native earned seven multi-point games including three games with three assists.
Rookie of the Year – Regen Cavanagh
After taking a chance in the 2015 NAHL Draft to move up and claim forward Regen Cavanagh, 18, in the 5th Round, the IceRays benefitted from his contribution to this year’s team. The Chesapeake, Va., native closed his first junior season with 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points through 45 games, finishing tied for third in goals and assists after missing the first 12 games due to a facial injury sustained in training camp. Cavanagh also became just the second player in junior franchise history to earn a monthly honor from the NAHL, taking Forward of the Month honors in December after recording 11 points through eight games. He also earned five multi-point games including a four-point game on December 4 in Odessa.
Defenseman of the Year – Cody Lichtenvoort
Evaluating defenseman has multiple layers to tackle when deciding a standout player, but the impact that Cody Lichtenvoort, 20, brought to the team was felt from his first game. After being acquired from the Springfield Jr. Blues on December 18, the Algonquin, Ill., native played 28 games with the IceRays and earned four goals and nine assists for 13 points and a +5 rating including two game-winning goals. His season work placed him second on the team in plus/minus rating (+8), and on top of his production the physical presence was as advertised from his acquisition, becoming a forceful player on the back end of a young defensive core.
Unsung Hero – Brad LeLievre
There are many players that get into dirty areas and play the tough part of the game that often goes unnoticed when looking at a box score or statistics, and this year’s Unsung Hero exemplifies what it means to be a “heart and soul” player. Co-captain Brad LeLievre, 21, has exemplified leadership qualities since joining the team in November 2013 from the Kenai River Brown Bears, and his fearless play on the ice provided stops and motivation in key moments. From countless blocked shots to physical play to key points, the Brier, Wash., product closed his final junior season strong while also producing 17 points with nine goals, one shy of his career-high.
Community Man of the Year – Mason Krueger
The IceRays organization prides itself on its devotion to giving back to the Corpus Christi community, and a few players each season strive to take that same responsibility, including this year’s recipient, forward Mason Krueger. Krueger, 19, has kept that focus for his two-year stay with the IceRays, being a finalist in his first season in the same category. The Bettendorf, Iowa product takes the extended time to volunteer and work with the Corpus Christi community and even suits up in other ways behind-the-scenes in community events. His ability to work with children and want for that extra fulfillment makes him the top candidate for this year’s Community Man of the Year.
Most Valuable Player – Dryden McKay
Though the IceRays just barely missed out on a run for the Robertson Cup this season by two points, a large reason why the team remained competitive was the play of goaltender Dryden McKay. McKay, 18, evolved over the course of the season, moving from a backup option to one of the best goaltenders in the NAHL over the final half of the season and leading the team in an area vital to success. The Downers Grove, Ill., native finished his second NAHL season with a 15-14-2 record with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage through 34 games, setting career-highs in all those categories and matching his win total from last year. Since December 3, McKay kept opponents to three goals or less in 20 of his final 23 games while facing an average of just under 31 shots per game and also going 12-8-1. He finished the year 15th in the NAHL in goals-against average and tied for ninth in save percentage.
Fan Favorite – Brad LeLievre
Over 1,000 submissions were tallied for this year’s Fan Favorite award, and the race was another close one. Whether it’s his inspiring play, the captain’s crest on his uniform, his good work with community members and fans, or his strong beard, there is something to like and enjoy in Brad LeLievre. The NAHL journeyman has made his junior career in the NAHL, recording 226 games with 34 goals and 39 assists for 73 points between the Wenatchee Wild, Kenai River, and Corpus Christi. He’s battled numerous injuries over the course of the season and played through ailments that many others would use to remove themselves from the lineup. LeLievre is the embodiment of a team-first, blue collar player, and the fans in Corpus Christi voted him as the most beloved from this year’s team.
Keep up with the IceRays all off-season long, and contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).