By Dan McCaffery
Josh Kestner was the big winner at the Sarnia Legionnaires annual awards banquet Saturday.
The artful forward was named the Jr. 'B' hockey club's Most Valuable Player and its Top Scorer.
The 20-year-old forward from Huntsville, Alabama collected 40 goals and 30 assists for 70 points in 47 games.
Kestner, who is too old to return next season, was unable to attend the dinner.
Goalie Sean Parker, who made a miraculous comeback from a horrifying injury, was named Most Dedicated Player.
Parker suffered a broken neck and fractured skull during a game in LaSalle last October. Doctors told him he was lucky he wasn't paralyzed – or even killed – after a high-speed collision with an opposing player.
Many thought his career was over, but the Forest native refused to give up and was rewarded on the final night of the team's playoff drive when he dressed as a backup against the London Nationals.
"It's a really special award, given the circumstances of not playing a whole lot this year,” Parker said. “It shows my efforts to help the team didn't go unnoticed.”
The 21-year-old puckstopper, who is too old to return next season, thanked the Legionnaires for keeping a roster spot open for him, despite the fact that he was out of action for five months.
He also praised head coach Dan Rose for allowing him to suit up for the team's final contest. “The fact that he allowed me to do that was special,” Parker said. “It shows the loyalty that this organization has for its players.”
Rose said Parker's return was “inspirational to the players. He understood he wasn't coming back as the starter but he offered moral support. He's a great athlete and a great kid who will do really well in life.”
Parker said he hopes to play senior hockey next winter.
front l-r Bobby King, Thomas Moxley, Davis Boyer
back l-r Curtis Crombeen, Sean Parker, Jordan Fogarty
missing Jay Clarke, Brad Campbell, Josh Kestner
Curtis Crombeen was named Best Defenceman, while Bobby King won the Spirit Award and Thomas Moxley collected the Peoples Choice trophy.
Rookie-of-the-Year honours went to Jordan Fogarty while Jay Clarke and Brad Campbell shared the Most Improved Player plaque.
Davis Boyer was the top playoff performer.
Three people Penny Lilley, Jeff Percival and Pam Percival shared the Volunteer-of-the-Year Award.
l-r presenter Cliff Smith, Penny Lilley, Pam Percival, Jeff Percival