Winners announced for 2024 Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards

Winners announced for 2024 Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards

The winners of the 2024 Fenix Outdoor & Warrior European Hockey Awards were announced on Tuesday by the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (E.H.C.). This is the eighth year the E.H.C. is recognizing the best accomplishments in European clubs and leagues.

Young Player of the Year – presented by

Jonathan Lekkerimäki (Örebro HK, SWE) – Signed by Örebro from Djurgården, the 19-year-old right winger made the most of his opportunity in Sweden’s top league. Using his devastating shot, Lekkerimäki led his team in goals (19) and points (31) – those were also high marks for a U20 player in the SHL. At the end of the season, he also got a six-game stint in the AHL, recording two points. Internationally, he was a standout at the World Juniors, leading the tournament with seven goals and claiming MVP honours, helping Sweden to a silver medal on home ice.

Other nominees: Ville Koivunen (Kärpät Oulu, FIN), Jani Nyman (Ilves Tampere, FIN), Axel Sandin-Pellikka (Skellefteå AIK, SWE), JiříTicháček (Rytíři Kladno, CZE).

Coach of the Year – presented by Globetrotter

Robert Ohlsson (Skellefteå AIK, SWE) – After a period as an assistant in Frölunda under previous Coach of the Year Roger Rönnberg, Ohlsson had a successful five-year stint behind the Djurgården bench, where he made a recently promoted team a title contender. In three seasons in Skellefteå, the team has shown steady progress, culminating in a very successful 2023-24 season. He guided the team to the CHL final in February, and then won it all in the SHL playoffs in the spring, defeating Rögle in a tight-checking, defensive final series in five games, despite having to cope with injuries to key players.

Other nominees: Rikard Grönborg (Tappara Tampere, FIN), Zdeněk Moták (Oceláři Třínec, CZE), Thomas Popiesch (Fischtown Pinguins, GER), Geoff Ward (Lausanne HC, SUI).

Club of the Year – presented by Hanwag

Oceláři Třinec (CZE) – In the modern hockey landscape, what Třinec has accomplished over the past several seasons defies explanation. Playing in a Czech Extraliga that is generally very balanced, this team from a town of 35,000 has won the last 5 straight Czech titles and been to 6 straight finals. This season was the unlikeliest win of them all – three straight seven-game wins in the playoffs, winning seven times when facing elimination, overcoming an 0-3 deficit in the semifinals against Sparta Prague to win in 4OT, and then a 2OT win in the finals vs Pardubice.

Other nominees: Fischtown Pinguins (GER), HK Nitra (SVK), Skellefteå AIK (SWE), Tappara Tampere (FIN).

Warrior Career Excellence Award

The Warrior Career Excellence Award is annually presented to the player who during his or her career has best exemplified the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication combined with community service and a high standard of playing ability.

Valtteri Filppula (Genève-Servette, SUI) – This past season, the veteran Finn became the first Triple Gold Club member to add a CHL title to his trophy case. A 2008 Stanley Cup champion with Detroit, Filppula captained Finland to Olympic and World Championship titles mere months apart in 2022. In his 3 years in Genève, he has helped the over 110-year-old Swiss club win its first domestic title (2023) and a European club title. This past season, at 39, he was instrumental on the CHL-winning team, recording 10 points in 13 games.

Other nominees: Roman Červenka (R-Jona Lakers, SUI), Beat Forster (EHC Biel-Bienne, SUI), Linus Omark (Luleå HF), Martin Růžička (Oceláři Třínec).

E.H.C. Leadership Award:

Gaby Sennebogen (CEO Straubing Tigers, GER) For installing a business-like mindset, for making the Straubing Tigers an overachieving team and at the same time integrating the club into the social fabric of the town of Straubing, and for holding the unique position as a volunteer CEO.

Kånken Youth Retention Award:

Barani Banská Bystrica (SVK) For the club’s focused social and community approach, for creating diversified practice and competition levels and for the objective to maintain high retention rates for boys and girls.

Photos: Jan Beneš

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