Canadiens honoured with two league awards
The St. Paul Canadiens received honours from the Northeastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League last week, as goaltender Austin Rediron was selected as the league's rookie of the year, and Ted Graling was awarded with general manager of the year.
“It feels good, it's nice to be recognized by your peers, but the coaching staff and executives did quite a bit of the work as well,” Graling said of earning the title of general manager of the year. “It's not what one guy did, it's what this whole organization did by trying to get things going in the right direction.”
One of the biggest moves made by Graling this year has to be the signing of Rediron, who has been a huge catalyst in the Canadiens moving forward in the rebuilding process.
“Ted did a good job all year. He worked his butt off to get the team financially to where we are now,” said Canadiens head coach Joe Young. “Ted's done a good job, he deserves it. He's a good communicator with the other GMs and a lot of guys respect him in this league.”
Rediron started his preseason as a member of the Flin Flon Bombers of the Saskatchewan Junior B Hockey League. Graling said Rediron was one of three highly talented goalies in the Bombers system, which is what aroused his interest in the rookie net-minder,
“We knew that we needed another kid to play net . . . They were packing three goalies and he wasn't sure where he was in the depth chart,” Graling said. “That's pretty much how it all came about.”
Even with his record of 3-18-0, Rediron's save percentage of .879 is ranked fourth amongst the 12 goalies in the North Conference. The Meadow Lake, Sask. native has stopped 908 of 1033 shots in only 25 games this season.
“It feels good. I thought we were half-decent this year,” Rediron said. “It's just nice to know people are watching and noticing me.”
Young, who predicted that Rediron would claim this award at the halfway point of the season, said Rediron has been a huge asset to the Canadiens, and that he deserves every accolade given to him.
“Obviously, management took notice of what (Rediron) has done this year. It's not all about the wins and losses, just look at how hard this kid competes every night,” Young said. “He's never wavered, he's always had a good attitude and he comes in to play every night.”
While Rediron has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the past few weeks, he says he has been skating on it, and hopes to be ready to take to the crease against the Cold Lake Ice in the playoffs.
“(Rediron) has been very instrumental in the turn around of a hard working Canadiens team,” it says on the NEAJBHL website. “He has made the Canadiens a much tougher opponent this year with his reliable goaltending.”
Top rookie and best management are two of the best awards that a team in the early stages of a rebuild could hope for. Despite a difficult season on the ice, these awards bode very well for the future of the St. Paul Junior B hockey franchise.
“We've been really happy with how things came down this year. We're making strides,” Graling said. “We're going in the right direction and that's not something you do overnight, we knew that coming into this year.”
Graling added that even though they currently sit last in the league, the playoffs are a whole new season, especially if it means the return of Rediron.
“In a week everybody goes back to zero,” he said. “Unfortunately we get the team that's only lost three games this year.”
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