The Peterborough Century 21 Lakers put a cap on their 2018 Mann Cup win with an awards banquet at Peterborough Golf and Country Club on Saturday night.
Approximately 200 team members, friends and fans were treated to a night of celebration in recognition of the team’s back-to-back titles. The Lakers defeated the Maple Ridge Burrards in four games at the Memorial Centre earlier this month to win their 16th national title and fourth of this decade after last capturing the trophy in New Westminster last year.
It may have been a quieter banquet than in years past with many players missing with prior commitments, but the mood in the room was light and happy, which became evident as the crowd broke into spontaneous applause as master of ceremonies Len Powers began to describe how the season started: potentially without a goalie, until general manager Paul Day brought in Doug Buchan.
It wasn’t Buchan’s only moment in the spotlight on Saturday; he also received a standing ovation from the crowd as Day announced him as the Lakers’ rookie of the year.
“Even my teammates stood up for me so this means a lot,” Buchan said.
He also shared the MSL’s top goals against average award with Evan Kirk and Matt Vinc, though Day recounted that Vinc had expressed that the award belonged solely to Buchan, who led the MSL with a 6.27 GAA. Buchan led the team to a 5-1 start and finished with a 9-1 record that included a game where he limited the Six Nations Chiefs to three goals.
“Those other two are my idols. Two of the best goalies in the league,” Buchan said of Vinc and Kirk. “I look up to them and try to model my game after them a little bit. To have my name on that trophy with them is a pretty cool experience that I’ll remember forever.”
Buchan played well enough this summer to earn a contract with the Philadelphia Wings, so he’s looking forward to the upcoming NLL season, but will be glad to return to Peterborough next summer.
“This turned into one of the best years of my life,” Buchan said. “It was an incredible season. I got the opportunity to play a couple of games early in the season and I kind of ran with it. Walking out in front of all the fans gave me goosebumps every night. I made a whole new group of friends this year and they were always supporting me whether I played well or not so it was unbelievable.”
Kyle Buchanan also won the MSL’s top scorer award with 68 points (23G+45A).
In addition to the team awards, the Lakers were also presented with honourary scrolls from both the provincial and federal governments; MPP Dave Smith was on hand to celebrate with the Lakers on behalf of the province of Ontario. MSL commissioner Doug Luey dropped off the team’s gold medals earlier in the day; each medal is inscribed with the player’s name.
Other award winners in attendance were most dedicated Robert Hope and top defenseman Brock Sorensen.
Sorensen, who won his second Mann Cup this year, was surprised but happy with his award.
“In all honesty it genuinely could have gone to 10 different guys on our team,” he said. “I’m thankful they chose me, but the talent and skill and heart goes throughout our whole team so it doesn’t really matter who you give the award to.”
A Peterborough native now living in Toronto, Sorensen loves any opportunity to come back and play in front of the hometown fans.
“We had another great group this year,” he said. “When you sell out a banquet it’s pretty cool. It just goes to show how much love and support we have in the city.”
He paused, then added, “let’s go after three.”