Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - Submitted by Ellie-Marie Watts
2019 award winners, from left, Dayne Davis, Josh Secomb, Sammy Banga, Bert Malloy, Charlie Smart. Picture: PowerPlay Photographics
Sammy Banga's breakout second season with the Newcastle Rescue Northstars was recognised on Wednesday night when the Canadian import was named the 2019 team's most valuable player.
Northstars coach John Kennedy Jr said outside Banga's 56-point season so far, it was his leadership and dedication to the team that earned him the MVP trophy.
"When he came into this league late last season he showed he belonged, he showed that he can produce," Kennedy said.
"When we heard he was coming back there was some questions. He didn't play last season in North America or Europe, he took the season off.
"We decided to put an A on his jersey and he's shown us leadership, he's shown us dedication in so many different ways."
Banga has scored 22 goals and made 34 assists from 26 appearances in 2019.
He is the Northstars' leading goal scorer and sits fourth for individual points across the Australian Ice Hockey League.
Kennedy and associate coaches Joe Theriault and Ray Sheffield further awarded four Northstars players and one of the team's coaching staff at Club Macquarie on Wednesday night. In a rare double feat, both of the Northstars goaltenders received awards.
Charlie Smart claimed the Tony Huntley Award for Best Australian Player while Dayne Davis took home the Best Defensive Player Award.
The Most Improved Player Award was awarded to Richie Tesarik and Most Dedicated Player went to captain Bert Malloy.
"It is phenomenal having you as captain," Kennedy said about Malloy.
"Every guy on this team would attest to how much you give to this organisation and your dedication is definitely seen from us, as well as the fans."
Strength and conditioning coach Josh Secomb became the second only non-player to receive the Coaches' Award.
2019 award winners
Tony Huntley Award for Best Australian Player - Charlie Smart (goaltender)
Most Dedicated Player Award - Robert Malloy (captain)
Most Improved Player Award - Richie Tesarik
Best Defensive Player Award - Dayne Davis (goaltender)
Coaches' Award - Josh Secomb (strength and conditioning trainer)