The SIJHL announced yesterday that Nick Lucas of the Fort Frances Lakers and Alex Maticic of the Thunder Bay North Stars were named co-recipients of the most sportsmanlike player award for the 2017-18 season.
The winners were determined in voting done by each of the SIJHL’s six clubs.
As a first-year player in the league, Lucas incurred just eight minor penalties in 53 games for the Lakers.
Lucas also had no infractions over his final 17 games and just one in his last 28 regular-season matchups, dating back to December.
The Cottage Grove, Mn. native also led the Lakers in scoring with 19 goals and 26 assists.
Maticic, who turned 20 earlier this month, only had 14 penalty minutes during the regular season.
The Thunder Bay native led the North Stars in offensive production while finishing fourth overall in SIJHL scoring with 65 points in 55 games, including 22 goals and 43 assists.
The other finalist for this award was Michael Johnson of the Thief River Falls Norskies.
This marked the third time in SIJHL history that there have been co-recipients for the award.
It also is the third-straight year that a Lakers’ player has garnered the accolade.
Lucas becomes the sixth player from a Fort Frances-based franchise in the 17-year history of the SIJHL to earn most sportsmanlike player honours.
Dylan Kooner claimed the honour last season while Andrew Willner won the award in 2015-16.
Jacob Nolan also took home the award for the Lakers back in 2012-13, as did Tyler Stevenson in 2010-11.
Former Borderland Thunder forward A.J. Tucker was a co-recipient back in 2002-03.
Former North Stars to earn this honour were Matthias Gardiman (2013-14), Joel Langevin (2008-09), Josh Slobodian (2006-07), and Steve Atkins (2004-05).
The winners for the other individual SIJHL awards will be announced over the coming days.