"It's when we are frustrated, you learn the most," Mitch said awarding goaltender, Alex Richichi with the Break-Through Player Award, "who with little experience got out on the ice and became one of the best in this year's league."
The coach, a sixth grade teacher in Skaneateles, said when a student is getting uncomfortable he knows they are about to have a breakthrough.
Mitch started a coach's award when he took over seven years ago. This award has only been given to two other players.
"Someone else came along that is pretty special," Mitch said. "A coach's dream. As a sophomore he didn't even make the team, as a junior he played one game."
Nick Augustine didn't give up after that sophomore cut, he worked harder and in his senior year he not only made the team but also earned the rank of captain. Mitch said Augustine and fellow captain Will Kraus (who took the Rick Whalen Award) put their egos aside and brought the team up to the level necessary for championship play. They were joined by the other three seniors, Adam Severence, Wynn Schoeneck and Ryan Dove. These young men embodied sportsmanship in the truest sense.
A nod to "Duke" Schneider
"Any decision I make, has to go through Duke Schneider," Mitch said of loyal Laker fan and confidant.
Schneider has worked with the hockey team since the mid-80s.
"He runs the clock during the games -- basically handles all the administrative duties for the team and gives me advice," Mitch said, adding, "That I really need."
A serious heart condition landed Schneider in the hospital this during the course of this season. The banquet was his first night back with the team.
"It was obviously great to have him back," Mitch said.
Mitch's father, Charlie T. Major, was on hand as team historian to connect the dots. He presented the W.G. Allyn award to Nick Augustine. Mitch's dad said, I knew W. G. Allyn all my life, this team would have really pleased him.