A Sylvan Lake hockey product has been named the South Central Alberta Hockey League’s Best Goaltender.
Spencer Michnik, who was a first year player with the West Central Bantam AA Tigers, was awarded the honour for the 2019-2020 season.
The Best Goaltender award is voted by the coaches in the league.
“I was very excited when I found out,” commented Michnik, who says he was at home watching TV with his family when he received the news.
The 13-year-old was in net for 27 games this past season finishing with a 1.78 goals-against average and a 0.93 save percentage stopping 632 of the 678 shots taken on him.
“It’s not just me, it’s my coaches and I’ve got to have a good team in front of me,” said the Michnik.
Bantam Tigers’ Head Coach Chad Beagle says the honour is a huge accomplishment for Michnik.
“He was very consistent all year long [and] as a head coach sometimes you look at it as a team award as well,” said Beagle, “… but I don’t want to take anything away from Spencer whatsoever because he had a heck of a year.”
Beagle added Michnik was probably the youngest goalie in the league as there traditionally isn’t very many first years to play.
“With Spencer the biggest thing with him is consistency,” explained Beagle. “He approached every game the same way and I think I can count maybe one or two, possibly, games where he wasn’t a huge factor in our win.”
He added Michnik’s a dedicated player both on and off the ice, as well as to his training.
“There’d be times where we’d be getting home late after a game and he was at his goalie trainer the next morning,” said Beagle.
“I just love playing the position and I have a lot of fun doing it,” explained Michnik, who works with goalie coach Kraymer Barnstable.
The goalie plans to return to the Bantam Tigers next season.
“I think the sky’s the limit for him,” said Beagle, adding he has potential to play at a very high level next year and into the future.
From a coaches point of view, he says Michnik matured a lot throughout the year.
“Apart from his skills in net I think his off the ice maturing as a goaltender and as a hockey player and learning what it takes to be successful at a high level of hockey was a huge accomplishment for him too,” said Beagle.
The West Central Bantam AA Tigers were crowned SCAHL champions earlier this month.
The team’s other goalie, fellow Sylvan Laker Aaron Knudsen, also put up top of the league statistics alongside Michnik.