ESTEVAN - Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football had a busy night Thursday, thanks to its awards night and annual general meeting at the Beefeater Plaza.
The awards were handed out a few weeks after the conclusion of the 2022 season. Each of the four teams in minor football presented some hardware.
For the Estevan U10 Power Dodge Cudas, who played mini games for fun against teams from Moose Jaw and Weyburn, Casey Kitz was named the team MVP. Dylan Kennedy was the offensive MVP, and Seth Wyatt and Jace Peterson shared the defensive MVP.
James Harmsworth was named the most sportsmanlike, Ciera Schell was the most dedicated and Calder Crossman was the most improved.
For the U12 Coldwell Banker Choice Real Estate Chargers, TJ Thompson was selected the team MVP. Thompson was also the top offensive player in the Moose Jaw Minor Football League’s U12 division this year.
Other Chargers’ award winners were Waylon Mantei (offensive MVP), Nash Faber (defensive MVP), Tucker Hilstrom (most sportsmanlike), Parker Moffatt (most driven), Elizabeth Bergen (most improved) and Ardnazac Sta. Ana (top rookie).
Award winners for the Estevan Lions Club U14 Oilers were Dane Hogg (MVP), Hugh Ross (offensive MVP), Nevin Tedford (defensive MVP), Connor Mercer (most sportsmanlike), Corbin Barker (most dedicated), Charlie Hayes (most improved) and Taya Stigings (rookie of the year).
The Estevan Kinette Club U18 Viragos female team’s winners were: Maria Baniulis (team MVP and top offensive lineman), Sarah Greening (offensive MVP), Hailey Tangjerd (defensive MVP), Kelsey Greening (top defensive lineman), Rylee Briscoe (most sportsmanlike), Andri Groenveld (most dedicated), Miaya Smith (most improved) and Aurora McCutcheon (top rookie).
The Bryan Illerbrun Community Award went to Hailey Tangjerd, Rylee Briscoe, Maria Baniulis, Ann Park, Mahlyn Bombarek, Brooklyn Christenson, Mercedes Paterson and Caleb Bresciani. They are coaches of the U10 Cudas’ junior players. Most of the recipients are members of the Viragos.
“Every girl that is coaching, they were down at Chow Field five times a week, either as a player with the Viragos or coaching the Cudas,” said Estevan Minor Football president Kevin Mortenson. “They’d have their own game with the Viragos and then we’d have the jamborees for the Cudas on Saturday.”
The Cudas’ player called up the Illerbrun recipients to receive the award.
Staci and Cort Barker took home the Brian Smith Memorial Volunteer Family Award.
For the second straight year, minor football inducted people into their Wall of Fame. This year’s honourees were husband-and-wife couples Dave and Wanda Harron, and Bill and Val Paulson.
“I was so happy to induct the Harrons and the Paulsons because I’ve worked with them since 2008,” said Mortenson.
Mortenson noted they were heavily involved with minor football from the outset. Val Paulson was the first secretary and her husband was a member at large but soon became the equipment manager.
Wanda Harron coached at the U10, U12 and U14 levels, and Mortenson noted she was the first female head coach in Regina Minor Football in 2013, along with another coach in Regina. Her husband was always helping with field maintenance.
“Both families were very involved with our fundraising suppers and Party in the Park,” wrote Mortenson. “As well, they were instrumental in bringing TSN and the Kraft Celebration Tour to Estevan in 2011.”
Wanda Harron submitted Estevan’s bid for the tour.
Many of the players in the EMF were not born when the tour came to Estevan in 2011, while others are too young to remember the massive community event that included a live TSN SportsCentre broadcast in downtown Estevan. Some families did not live in Estevan at the time.
The Harrons’ and the Paulsons’ kids have helped out with field maintenance and/or coaching.
“Both families are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They’re big football fans. It’s always nice seeing them come back to watch a game. I know they have busy lives doing other things now that the kids aren’t in the sport, but if they have time, they’re down there watching a game,” said Mortenson.
As for the annual meeting, joining Mortenson on the board are vice-president Elyse Mantei, secretary Kathy Thompson, treasurer Chelsea Schell, equipment manager Pat Ford, fundraising chair Tia Thacker, and members-at-large Jen Froese, Trevor Goetz, Megan Tangjerd, Stacy Harmsworth and Tom Moffatt.
Mortenson noted he is trying to keep coaches off of the executive. He values what the coaches bring to minor football and what they have to say, but he finds they don’t need to be on the board to have their opinions heard.
“They’re always going to be important and they’re always going to have a voice,” said Mortenson.
He will be stepping down as the head coach of the Power Dodge Cudas after a decade at the helm of the program.
The EMF generated over $28,000 through the Groceries for a Year fundraiser. They have also announced the creation of a $500 scholarship for a graduating member of the Viragos who will be pursuing post-secondary education.
Mortenson said he appreciates everyone who helped out this year, including coaches, trainers, board members and everyone else who helped make this past season possible.