© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Sam Fioretti, left, and Morgan Rielly, right, accept the Moose Jaw Warriors Player of the Year Award from Warriors president Chad Taylor during the Yara Awards Night prior to Friday's game.
Morgan Rielly and Sam Fioretti had already earned plenty of hardware at the Moose Jaw Warriors’ Yara Awards Night.
So when it came time for the big honour, the 19-year-olds were happy to share.
Fioretti and Rielly were named co-winners of the Warriors’ Player of the Year award. It’s the sixth time the Warriors have had co-winners.
“I was excited to receive that honour,” said Fioretti. “We have a lot of great players on our team, to be selected as co-MVP with Morgs is a big honour for me.”
Fioretti said he was striving to be a point-per-game player and he will do that as he picked up his 74th point of the season Friday. He will also be the only Warrior to play all 72 games this season provided nothing unforeseen happens Saturday.
“I’m excited with the year I’ve had,” said Fioretti who also honoured as the team’s top scorer. “My body is definitely tired. Playing 72 games in a year is definitely a grind. If you look at what (Justin) Feser in the other conference and seeing how many games he’s played in a row it’s crazy to think that he’s played that many in a row”
Feser set the WHL record for consecutive games with Tri-City earlier this season when he played his 312th straight game earlier this month.
Rielly has had his share of accolades, but said the personal achievements always take a back seat to team success.
“When you get an award like that it’s nice, but I think the highlight of the night was the game for sure,” said Rielly.
While Fioretti is expected to be back as a 20-year-old next season, Rielly could make the jump to the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs next season. He will be flying to Toronto to join the American Hockey League’s Marlies on Wednesday.
“I’m not too sure what to expect there. I’m going to keep working hard and if I get to play I will try to make the most of it. I’m going to try to gain experience by being around pro hockey players and try to learn as much as I can.”
Rielly also earned the Defensive Player of the Year award, the Fans’ Choice award and the Three Star award. While he is striving to make the jump to the NHL next year, he said it would be fine by him to return for his 19-year-old season.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing here in Moose Jaw and I might get a chance to play here next year. If I got that opportunity I would be happy about it because it’s a great place to play junior hockey,” said Rielly. “I’ve always enjoyed my time here.”
Goaltender Justin Paulic was a multiple award winner as he was named the team’s Unsung Hero. Paulic was also the Scholastic Player of the Year as he earned a 90 per cent average and made the honour roll at Vanier.
Brayden Point was the Rookie of the Year and also was named the Most Sportsmanlike Player.
For the second straight season captain Kendall McFaull was the Warriors’ Humanitarian of the Year. McFaull also received the Shanon MacLachlan True Warrior Award.
Tanner Eberle won the Mark MacKay Hustle and Desire Award.
The team honoured McFaull, Fioretti and Justin Kirsch for playing in their 200th career WHL games and Jordan Messier for playing in his 300th. The club also recognized broadcaster James Gallo for calling his 500th career game.
Rielly and Red Goat Sports was part of the Stick It To Cancer initiative that raised $17,000 for the Moose Jaw Health Foundation. The auction of the Snowbirds’ jerseys raised $9,000 for Moose Jaw Union Hospital. The Little Chicago development also donated the $8,000 raised by parking on their land near Mosaic Place to the Booster Club.