In their continuing quest to put a bow on the 2019-20 hockey season shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic, the Winnipeg Jets announced their end of season award winners Wednesday.
The Jets’ season came to an end last Thursday in a 4-0 qualifying round loss to the Calgary Flames at Edmonton’s Rogers Place.
It was no surprise at all that goalie Connor Hellebuyck received the Subway Three Stars Award. The Vezina Trophy finalist was named the game’s First Star on 12 occasions and was selected as the Second or Third Star 4 times each.
Hellebuyck ranked at or near the top of the league with 31 wins, a 2.57 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, and 6 shutouts.
The Wawanesa Insurance Community Service Award went to forward Bryan Little for his commitment to the community. The 32-year-old center demonstrated his appreciation for the Winnipeg branch of the Canadian Military with a donation of four season tickets. As well as his Little’s Big Heroes program which recognizes local military members in-game at home games throughout the season.
Little has also been a dedicated supporter of the True North Youth Foundation and particularly the Project 11 program which helps support students and teachers in bringing mental health awareness and positive coping skills into their lives. He has volunteered time to create curriculum videos and to visit local classrooms to speak about Project 11. This year, Little also volunteered to be a spokesperson for the Tri-Hospital Lottery to raise funds for three local hospitals.
The third and final piece of hardware went to defenceman Anthony Bitetto, with the Dan Snyder Memorial Award which is presented each year to the Winnipeg Jets player who embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward or recognition, so that his team and teammates might succeed.
Whether he was playing or waiting for his next turn to suit up, the veteran blueliner with the rich New York accent was a constant source of positive reinforcement for his teammates and quickly became one of the most popular guys in the room.
The 30-year-old rearguard did manage to play in a career-high 51 games and also established personal bests with eight assists and 32 penalty minutes. Whether it was blocking a shot, or standing up for “a brother” Bitetto earned the respect of the team, and especially the coaching staff.
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