Jr. Comets Elite Wrap Up the Season in Style
by Keith VeronesiMar 2, 2016
The 2004 and 2006 Jr. Comets Elite team, along with their family and friends, gathered at Aqua Vino restaurant earlier this week to celebrate the culmination of what was an extremely successful and memorable year. The two teams enjoyed the night together, while eating some great food and highlighting some memorable moments from this past season.
The evening kicked off with Utica Comets president and 2004 coach Rob Esche discussing the recent growth of youth hockey in the area. For the first time, the Utica Jr. Comets Elite teams were able to take the areas best players and put them all on one team. This has allowed for the teams to compete on a national level, all while continuing to develop each player at an expedited rate. Esche mentioned the excitement surrounding youth hockey in our area, something he hasn’t felt to this magnitude in quite some time.
Prior to presenting the players of each team with individual and team awards, the guests in attendance had the opportunity to listen to a very special speaker. Former Clinton Comet Dave Armstrong had the attention of the whole room as he talked about how significantly things have changed since he participated in youth hockey. Armstrong, who is also the grandfather of 2006 Utica Jr. Comet Cooper Faughnan, spoke very highly of the elite program and some of the key components included with being an Elite player, such as the Utica Comets mentorship program. The whole organization sincerely thanks Dave and the rest of Clinton Comets as the continue to serve as area ambassadors for the sport of hockey.
Each player also received a team award, which is something that will allow them to reflect back on all of the positive and memorable experiences throughout the season – experiences like winning the Can/Am Lake Placid tournament for the 2004 Elite team, both teams loading up 3 Birnie Buses and heading north to Toronto for a weekend of games, a chance to experience the city of Toronto, and the opportunity to tour the Hockey Hall of Fame. Each team also had three individual award winners. The organization handed out three awards per team – the Ian Anderson Award for Most Improved Player, the Bill Horton Award for Most Heart, and the Tom McVie for Most Valuable Player; these are the same awards our AHL’s Utica Comets receive at the conclusion of their season. Ella Greico was the recipient of the Ian Anderson Award, Aidan Nutty was awarded the Bill Horton Award, and 2004 Elite team captain Peyton Kimball received the Tom McVie Award. The 2006 Elite team award winners were Connor Wiggins (Ian Anderson), Anthony Falvo (Bill Horton), and Cooper Faughnan (Tom McVie).
All in all, the night was a huge reflection of this past season’s successes. The Elite program is extremely excited how far it has come in just one season and looks to continuously grow in the seasons to come. A special thanks to all of the coaches, parents, players, and volunteers that have made this all a reality!