Comets Hand Out 2015-16 Season Awards
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Apr 17, 2016
The Utica Comets announced their inaugural season awards in a ceremony prior to Sunday's game. Awards were handed out for those that honored both the Comets play on the ice as well as their involvement within the community.
The Tom McVie Award for coach's most valuable player was given to both Carter Bancks. Bancks erupted for a career year in virtually every statistical category with 14 goals, 24 assists, and 38 points. The Marysville, BC native’s versatile play made him a contributor in every game situation, especially on the penalty-kill. His penalty-killing prowess led the Comets to the league’s fourth best penalty kill overall, and the league’s best penalty kill at home. He became the unquestioned leader in the locker room after the team’s captain, Alex Biega, was recalled to Vancouver, and is the only Comets player to play in every game this season. Earlier this season Bancks was named the Comets IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the Utica community during the season.
Taylor Fedun was given the Eric Weinrich Awards as the Comets best defenseman. He collected 33 points (8-25-33), and eight goals, three of which served as game-winning goals. From the blue line, Fedun led the entire team in power-play points (18) and shots on goal (166). He logged top minutes while he played on both the power-play and penalty-killing units all season.
Wacey Hamilton took home two awards that pay tribute to his heart, character and class. He was named the Bill Horton Award-winner for his heart, while he was also named the Dave Armstong Award-winner as the Comets "Class Guy”, as voted on by the Comets staff.
Darren Archibald was presented with the Thomas M. Lindsey Foundation Award by members of the Utica Police Department. The Thomas M. Lindsey Foundation was created in honor of a Utica Police Officer that was killed in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop in 2007. The Thomas M. Lindsey award honors a Comets player for his dedication to community efforts in Utica.
Michael Zalewski received two awards for his play on the ice. Travis Green and the coaching staff pegged the New Hartford, NY native as the Ian Anderson award winner as the team’s Most Improved Player. Secondly, the Mohawk Valley media voted him as their "Player of the Year". Trusted in all situation, Zalewski provided a scoring touch with a knack for the clutch goal. He leads the team with three short-handed goals, and is tied with Taylor Fedun with three game-winning goals. This season he played himself into an NHL contract and a call-up to the National Hockey League after starting the season on an AHL contract.
Goaltender Richard Bachman earned himself the Honda Three Stars Award given to the player that was selected one of the three most impactful players of the game this season. The first year Comet was named one of the three stars in 23 games, while playing in just 35 games this season. Bachman was named the first star of the game four times, most on the team.
Two staff awards were handed out at the team’s annual end of the year banquet on Apr. 4th at Aqua Vino. Luann Horton-Murad, the team’s Executive Administrator, was awarded the Kevin Dowling Award for being the staff member most dedicated to the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Jackie Moon Award, given annually to the Comets Staff Member of the Year as named by Comets Robert Esche, was awarded to Eric Kowiatek, the club’s Graphic Designer.