In what might be the most Federal Hockey League move of all-time, the league (well, at least the Carolina Thunderbirds) announced the winners for almost all of their major awards that are handed out at the end of the season.
There’s just one problem. The season hasn’t ended, as every team has between four and six games left in the regular season.
The major individual award winners are as follows:
MVP – Josh Pietrantonio
Coach of the Year – Andre Niec
Goalie of the Year – Christian Pavlas
Defenseman of the Year – Mike Baker
In addition to those, the Thunderbirds broadcaster, Zak DeBeaussaert, won broadcaster of the year; and their radio station, WTOB, won the Founders Award for growth of the Federal Hockey League.
The only player awards we don’t know yet (or if they’ll actually hand them out) are the winner of the Forward of the Year, which was only mentioned because Pietrantonio was mentioned as being a finalist but not as the winner, and then Rookie of the Year, which was not mentioned at all, which is odd because you figure Carolina probably has a player that will win that too.
UPDATE: The Elmira Enforcers announced that forward Stepan Timofeyev was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
I’m going to get right to the point here and just say it’s a disgrace that the league has announced these awards before the season is over, making it kind of appear like they had their minds made up on these things long ago.
I get that some of them were probably set weeks ago, most notably Goalie of the Year and Coach of the Year, but come on, have a little decency and wait until the season actually ends before you hand out year-end awards.
And then you have two categories that, at least on paper, could be very close or tough decisions (MVP and Defenseman of the Year), where having another four to six games on the schedule could legitimately help decide them!
Again, I get that some awards were likely (and probably fairly) decided long ago regardless of what happened down the stretch, but for the close awards, how do you hand them out when you still have time to make that decision? Just baffling, and honestly, probably unfair to the players who may have been in the running for those awards.
So I guess congratulations to all the award winners today, and bummer for those who were in the running but got snubbed before they could play out the season, because apparently in the minds of the FHL’s awards voters, those games don’t count or just aren’t as important as the first 54 games.