By Pat Payton
The 2018-19 GOJHL season didn’t end the way he would have liked.
A hand injury forced St. Marys Lincolns’ centre Blair Butchart to miss the final five games of the Western Conference regular season. But the Lincs’ captain and best offensive player certainly left his mark over the first 43 games of the campaign.
Butchart collected three individual awards at Lincolns’ annual team awards banquet last Friday night at the PRC. The 20-year-old Palmerston native, in his first season in St. Marys, accepted the Frank Edye Award as regular-season MVP. He also received the Harold Maxwell Award for the team’s leading scorer, as well as the Fan Appreciation Award. The winner is picked each year in a vote by the fans.
In 43 games, Butchart had nine goals, 47 assists and 56 points. He had one of the highest assists totals in the entire GOJHL.
“Winning these awards feels amazing,” Butchart said last Friday. “We have a great group of guys and anybody could have been picked. But I feel really honoured to be chosen for three awards, especially by an elite organization like St. Marys.”
Butchart thinks the Lincs can have a winning season next year, and he wants to be a part of it in his final season of Junior hockey.
“It’s my last year and I know a couple of 20-year-olds are coming back next year,” he said. “Hopefully a lot of the boys will be back from this year’s team and will help with the Junior experience they gained this year.
“I really can’t wait to get going. I expect a lot of good things from our team, and hopefully we can go on a deep playoff run. I think we’ll be capable of doing that.”
Making the respective trophy presentations to Butchart were: Frank Edye Jr. (MVP), St. Marys coach Trent McClement (leading scorer), and executive member Jamie McFadden (Fan Appreciation).
Other 2018-19 award winners
The other seven Lincolns’ awards were presented to the following players.
–The Bert Stacey Memorial Award for ability and sportsmanship went to big centre Joe Mazur, a 17-year-old from Sudbury. Mazur had 14 goals and 31 points in 47 games to finish fourth overall in team scoring. The presentation was made by Steve Shaw, grandson of Bert Stacey, and his son Connor.
–Defenceman Max Mulder took home the D.R. Stevens Award for leadership. The solid 18-year-old blue-liner from Stratford, who appears to be a big part in Lincs’ plans, was acquired in a trade with Listowel earlier this season. Sandy Shackleton, a granddaughter of D.R. Stevens, made the presentation.
–The Jack Boyd Memorial Award for most dedicated player went to forward Mason Goldie. The 17-year-old Londoner, who finished the season as St. Marys’ most dangerous scorer, finished third in Lincolns’ scoring with a team-high 19 goals and 32 points in 48 games. The presentation was made by Dan Schiedel, Jack Boyd’s nephew.
–Veteran Brett Whitehead, who recently turned 21, received the David Baynes Award for top defenceman. The Sudbury native was acquired from London at the beginning of the season, and helped stabilize a young Lincolns’ defence corps. He also contributed 16 points (6-10). In his Junior career, Whitehead played over 260 games. Making the presentation to Whitehead was former Lincs’ GM Mike Brogden.
–The Earl Leslie Award for rookie-of-the-year went to explosive winger Carson McMillan. The 17-year-old from Sudbury finished second in team scoring with 10 goals and 33 points in 42 games. He’s a player who could double those totals next season. Making the presentation was Earl Leslie’s son Don.
–Justin McIntyre is this year’s recipient of the R.G. (Kelly) Hearn Award for most improved player. The 18-year-old winger from Lucan had 10 goals and 21 points in 48 games. McIntyre is another player with good offensive potential. Donna Aldis, a daughter of Kelly Hearn’s, made the presentation.
–Goalie Justin Richer was given the Bannerman Memorial Award for Veteran of the Year. The 19-year-old from the Sudbury area, who won six games this season, had a respectable 4.05 goals-against average and a .871 save percentage.
The Bannerman family has been involved with the Lincolns since 1962. Mike Bannerman, who was a Lincs’ trainer for over 30 years, made the presentation to Richer. Three Bannerman brothers–Bill, Chris and Mark–also played for the Lincs during their storied history.
Lincs’ awards banquet notebook:
–Lincolns’ public address announcer Jamie Hahn did another fine job of master of ceremonies. He gave a history on the people the various team trophies are named after, and a brief synopsis on each trophy presenter.
Hahn noted that it was the 62nd consecutive season this year for the Lincs. He said the Lincolns have been a “great tradition” in town for over six decades.
–Club president Brandon Boyd announced that long-time Lincs’ volunteer Bill Bourne has won the prestigious Western Conference Conveners Award. Bourne has spent 18 years with the Lincolns and has worn several different hats. The Strathroy resident has been an assistant coach, general manager, senior advisor, and also spent two years as vice-president on the executive.
–Lincs’ February players-of-the-month are Justin Richer and Kyle Curtin. Presenting plaques to the two goalies was club vice-president Bill Lowe.
–In his address, president Boyd said the Lincolns have great support from the residents of St. Marys and its businesses. “You’ve all helped put the community back into this community-owned team,” he said, thanking all the people who attended last Friday’s awards banquet.
–It was noted at the banquet that Lincs were fifth in league attendance this season. “It will be absolutely crazy if we can ever get a winner here,” Director of Hockey Operations Jim MacEachern remarked in his address.
–Brett Whitehead played just one season with the Lincolns, but it’s a town the big defenceman will likely always remember. “St. Marys is a special place,” he said. “This organization went above and beyond to make me feel welcome.” He’s played five years of Junior hockey, and St. Marys is his “favourite place.”
–Scott Saunders Rollin’ Roasters Catering, from Seaforth, served a delicious beef and chicken dinner to over 100 people last Friday.
–The Independent has learned that Blair Butchart (Cobourg Cougars of the OJHL) and Brett Whitehead (Cochrane Crunch of the NOJHL) have been picked up by Provincial Tier II Jr. ‘A’ teams for the playoffs.