CARROT RIVER — Luc Marleau’s switch to a new position was so successful that he has been named the Carrot River Outback Thunder’s Most Valuable Player.
Marleau joined the Outback Thunder after starting the season as a forward with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melfort Mustangs. As a defenceman in the Prairie Junior Hockey League, Marleau posted 12 goals and 23 points in 22 games for the Outback Thunder. He received the team’s MVP award at Sunday’s awards banquet. “It gives me lots of confidence in the new position I am playing and shows that my hard work is paying off,” Marleau said. “I honestly could not have achieved this if it wasn’t for the help I have received these past few months with the Thunder. They have taught me so much, more than I could ever expect from a coaching staff. It truly is an honour to be selected and it is awesome to know that I am able to excel as a defenceman as well.”
While the banquet celebrated the Outback Thunder’s regular season, the team feels it has unfinished business. The team opens the postseason on Friday against the Saskatoon Westleys. The Outback Thunder hosts game two of the three-game series on Sunday.
“We’ve all worked so hard this year and now we’re all focused on a deep playoff run to bring home the award that means the most to us,” Outback Thunder forward Kaden Suski said.
Carrot River general manager Brennan Hall said that in his opinion the team has a room full of players who could have won any of the awards. In regard to Marleau, Hall said:
“What set Marleau above the bar for MVP is his desire to be the best he can be, to continue to get better, and to leave everything out there in order to win. His passion, drive, and leadership earned him that award.”
Hometown product David Wiens took home a trio of awards for the Carrot River squad. The 18-year-old was named the team’s Rookie of the Year, Top Points Scorer, and Fan Favourite. He had team-highs of 19 goals and 37 points in 40 games. Earlier in the week, Wiens was named the PJHL Rookie of the Year.
Suski shared a pair of awards. Suski and fellow forward Ben Couvier received the Coaches’ Award.
“Couvier and Suski are two guys that will do anything for anyone,” Hall said. “They listen, they want to get better, they keep the boys in high spirits on and off the ice and they’re over all two outstanding kids and that’s why they each got a Coaches’ Award.”
Defenceman Brett Harper and Suski split the Community Service Award. Hall and head coach Luke Folk have emphasized the team being involved in the community. Harper and Suski have certainly embraced that.
“Helping out in the community on Thunder Thursdays is one of the best parts about playing in Carrot River,” Suski said. “Hanging out reading to the kids at the elementary school is a great opportunity to give something back to the community because the support they show us every single game is unreal.”
Rookie Colten McAvoy was selected as the team’s Top Defenceman. Earlier this season Folk described him as a “defensive stud.”
Steven Soyko was named the Top Goaltender. He had a 3.73 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Liam Hallett, a rookie, was named the Most Improved Player. He had 10 goals and 27 points in 31 games.