By Kris Smith
Just 24 hours after the Stars booked their place in Semi-Finals against Belfast Giants and confirmed their return to Nottingham for the Final Four weekend, the club handed out awards to both on-ice and off-ice staff who played key roles in this campaign.
The night kicked-off with the Tom Wilson Memorial award, which recognises the dedication and hard-work of one volunteer every season.
This year, the Stars resident DJ and game night announcer, Andrew McArntey picked up the award after the high school guidance teacher devoted the last 20 years of his life to bringing a loud and noisy atmosphere to the DIA on every game night.
The Blackball Army fan group then presented their two sponsored players, Brython Preece and Kris Inglis, with awards for their efforts and gritty performances this year.
The Official Supporter Club then presented their Unsung Hero Award to forward, Spencer Dorowicz who brought timely scoring and a tough presence to the team all-year long.
Then, the members of Dundee Stars TV, the club’s own television channel, collectively voted for Swedish sensation, Sebastian Bengtsson as their Player of the Year.
The Swede hit scintillating form down the back half of the season and so far, has totalled 34 goals and 34 assists through 63 games.
After receiving his award, a delight Bengtsson said: “It feels great, I love all the Stars fans and especially Dundee Stars TV, they do great work and to be their Player of the Year is an honour.”
The OSC then returned to the stage to announce their chosen Player of the Year and from their 115 member votes, American winger, Charlie Combs was declared the winner.
The St Louis, Missouri native finished third overall in point-scoring during the league campaign and leads the Stars through the entire season with 78 points (33G, 45A).
Next up, was the Best British Player of the Year and the winner was netminder Preece, who came in to cover the injured, Adam Morrison for the whole month of March and won the Stars eight of the 14 games he started.
Then, the Most Improved Player of the Year award was given to Finnish forward, Timi Lahtinen, who racked up 26 points (6G, 20A) and was the only player to play in every single match so far this year.
Stars captain, Drydn Dow then stepped up to hand out the trophy for the Players Player of the Year Award and the squad unanimously voted for their speedy and sleekit forward, Combs.
Speaking after collecting his second award of the night, Combs said: “It is a great feeling and I really appreciate it.
“Right now, I am really excited for the upcoming weekend and the boys are excited and we can’t wait to get to Nottingham to give our fans even more to cheer about!
“Speaking to Pach and Anthony Beauregard coming into this season, they had nothing but good things to say about the fans and honestly, they did not undersell it but the fans outdid themselves this year.
“Their support has been our drive for the whole season and we want to do it this weekend for them.
”Even though we want to do it for ourselves and for the organisation, they have been such a big part of our team and we want to give back to them and that is what we will be doing in Nottingham.”
The final award of the evening was handed out by Pacha, as he named his Coach’s Player of the Year and the Stars boss selected fan-favourite and team enforcer, Kyle Haas for his team-first mentality and lively antics.
Pacha and his Stars team now have to refocus and begin their preparations for this weekend Elite League Playoff Semi-Final against Belfast Giants in Nottingham on Saturday, as Dundee aim to reach the Final for the first time in the club’s history.