Roy recognized for sportsmanship
Delhi Travellers goalie Sam Roy was recently voted the PJHL Doherty Division's Most Sportsmanlike Player. (Photo courtesy Bill Polzin)
If there's a more loyal soldier in junior hockey than Sam Roy, good luck finding him.
The 18-year-old from Brantford hasn't flinched despite facing some long odds as the Delhi Travellers goaltender this season. Roy, an Assumption College student, has seen an average of 45 shots per game while not getting a tonne of run support at the other end of the rink.
Through it all, Roy has carried himself with class both on and off the ice, leading other coaches within the Provincial Junior (C) Hockey League's Doherty Division to vote him as the league's Most Sportsmanlike Player for 2016/17 earlier this week.
“I had no idea. Chris (Longthorne, Travellers president) sent me a text late (Monday) night and that's the first I had heard of it – I had never heard of the awards or anything,” Roy said candidly.
“There's only five or six awards handed out so it's pretty nice.”
Delhi's young roster suffered through a 35-game losing streak to begin the season before finally getting off the schneid with a 7-3 victory over Burford on Friday. Like he has been for much of the year, Roy was a factor kicking aside 33 of 36 shots on the night.
“I love hockey and it doesn't matter what team I'm playing for I enjoy the game,” he said. “It's a great group of guys in the room, I love each and every one of them and the management is great – they've treated me nothing but amazing the whole time. We just wanted to get our first win and we knew right when we got to the rink we were going to get that win. Things couldn't have gone any better for us that game.”
Roy played one game for the Ayr Centennials early in the fall but that was his only appearance for the defending provincial champs. In late October he attended a Travellers practice and has been “a huge piece of the puzzle” ever since, said Longthorne.
“At the start of the year maybe he didn't get the fairest shake in Ayr and we were lucky enough nobody saw the potential that was there,” Longthorne added.
“He's a big reason we've been in a lot of games.”
Longthorne recalled one night in particular, Nov. 25, when Roy faced a whopping 75 shots in Tavistock. His team lost 9-0 that game, but neither after that contest or any other has the puck-stopper brought anything but a positive attitude.
“To be totally honest he's one of the most pleasant guys that can walk in and walk out (of the dressing room) every night regardless of what the score is,” Longthorne explained. “I never hear a bit of negativity from him whatsoever, he's one of the guys you hope you get a room of 20 of them. He's worried about playing hockey and not about what he's there to get or anything like that.”
“He gives you his best regardless of what the scoreboard says.”
Roy takes a measure of pride in the award because it not only pertains to a player's output on the ice but his approach to the game in general.
“It's nice to win that award because it looks good on not only me but the team as a whole,” he added.
The first place Centennials were well represented in the division's other year-end honours. Ayr's Mitch Klie was named MVP/Top Scorer, Connor MacLean won Top Defenceman and the duo of Brennan Hadad/Jackson Swindells captured Top Goalie. Woodstock's Andrew Bruder took home Rookie of the Year while Brad Wilkins of the Norwich Merchants earned Coach of the Year.