Thunder players among SIJHL winners

Four members of the Borderland Thunder led the trophy haul at the first-ever SIJHL awards banquet Saturday in Thunder Bay.
Wayne Strachan was chosen as coach-of-the-year after guiding the Thunder to a league-best 28-11-9 record during the regular season and a berth in the league final against the Dryden Ice Dogs.
He also coached the SIJHL all-star team here in January.
Despite achieving so much in his first year in the junior ranks, Strachan was gracious in the win.
“It’s good for the team to be recognized,” he said. “I owe [this award] to the team and my fellow coaching staff.”
Among the Thunder players honoured Saturday were Rob Hrabec (top goalie) and Kevin Webb (top rookie). Team captain Josh Baxter shared top honours as the best defensive forward with Tom Grant (Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs).
Charly Washipabano of the Nipigon Hawks (formerly the Thunder Bay Feathermen Hawks) took home two awards—most valuable player and most gentlemanly player.
Trevor Karasiewicz (Bulldogs) was the SIJHL’s top scorer, Steve Atkins (Hawks) was named most improved, and Tony Sikich (Northwest Wisconsin Knights) was awarded the trophy for achievement in ability and academics.
The Dryden Ice Dogs, who steamrolled through the playoffs en route to the inaugural SIJHL championship, only had Mike Kavanaugh step up to the podium, sharing top defenceman honours with Jarris Blacksmith (Hawks).
Awards were given out at a luncheon in conjunction with the league’s year-end meetings.