Newcastle North Stars players recount season highs

RECOGNISED: Newcastle North Stars player Ray Sheffield, assistant coach Joey Theriault and player Matt Wetini at the presentation night. Picture: Mark Bradford.

RECOGNISED: Newcastle North Stars player Ray Sheffield, assistant coach Joey Theriault and player Matt Wetini at the presentation night. Picture: Mark Bradford.

MOST IMPROVED: Matt Wetini with his awards. Picture: Mark Bradford.

MOST IMPROVED: Matt Wetini with his awards. Picture: Mark Bradford.

"HONOURED" and "humbled" is how Newcastle North Stars player Matt Wetini described his two awards at the ice hockey side's end-of-season presentation last Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Lake Macquarie player was awarded most improved and best Australian player.

Wetini said he was "surprised" he received the awards.

"I'm very honoured and humbled at the same time," Wetini said.

"Full credit goes to the boys I've been playing with, especially Cody Danberg and Brian Bales," he said.

Veterans Rob Starke and Ray Sheffield also received awards.

Starke was named the North Stars best defensive player of 2014 while Sheffield was name most dedicated.

The coaches' award went to assistant coach Joey Theriault while American import John Kennedy took out most valuable player.

Traditionally at the awards night, the North Stars would be looking forward to the Australian Ice Hockey League finals.

However, this year, with the North Stars missing out on a finals berth, the night turned to looking at the positives and achievements of 2014.

Starke reached 250 games for the North Stars while Matt Lindsay and Tim Stanger exceeded 100 games.

In three-and-a-half seasons, Brian Bales became the North Stars' leading goal scorer of all time while this season import Chris Wilson was the highest point scorer, followed by Cody Danberg.

The North Stars saw three rookies join the team in 2014 - Hayden Sheard, Josh Hansen and Pat Nadin - as well as a mascot, Marty Moose.

The annual toy drive was bigger and better than ever before this year with fans donating hundreds of toys to the John Hunter Hospital.

Close to $2500 was also raised by player Beau Taylor, who cut his long hair off and donated to Locks of Love.

Taylor raised more than $900 for John Hunter Hospital and $1600 for Sydney Children's Hospital.

North Stars general manager and 2014 coach Garry Dore summed the night up by saying it had been a "great year" and that 2015 would be even better.

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