Team Gathers Ahead of Final Regular Season Week
Less than 24 hours after winning the Dupaco Cowbell Cup, the trophy was on display for Waterloo Black Hawk season ticket holders Sunday at the Waterloo Center for Arts as the team looked ahead to the final week of the United States Hockey League regular season and the chance to win another cup in the playoffs beyond.
The Dupaco Cowbell Cup is awarded to the top performing team in a series of head-to-head games between the Black Hawks, Dubuque Fighting Saints, and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
“There’s an expectation for success here, and that’s good for development,” Hawks Head Coach and General Manager P.K. O’Handley told those in attendance. “As long as I’ve done this, I can tell when a team has a chance to do something special. It’s when the majority of the players recognize and embrace the values of being a Black Hawk.”
Those values were recognized through several awards voted upon exclusively by Black Hawks players. Mikey Anderson highlighted that group as the team’s Most Valuable Player. The 2017 NHL Draft prospect has been a steady defensive presence for Waterloo. Appearing in 52 games, Anderson’s +29 plus/minus differential ties for best on the team with defensemate Jake Ryczek. Anderson has also more than doubled his point total from last season, notching five goals and 27 assists from the blue line. Other awards presented by the players to their teammates included:
Rookie of the Year – Jackson Cates
Hardest Worker – Garrett Klee
Unsung Hero – Kevin Charyszyn
Most Improved Player – Ben Copeland
The Black Hawks Booster Club presented their annual award to Charyszyn, in recognition of his efforts both on the ice and his interaction with the fans.
Waterloo’s two youngest players were each recognized for off-ice pursuits in service to the organization and community. Jack Drury was awarded the Roth Jewelers Front Office Award for service to the organization, while Michael Ferrandino was honored with the Black Hawks’ Community Service Award for outstanding efforts representing the team on visits to schools, health care facilities, and during other outreach efforts.
Shane Bowers earned the Slumberland Furniture Fan’s Choice Player of the Year Award. Slumberland Fan’s Choice voting raises funds for local non-profit organizations.
Former Waterloo Black Hawks coach Mike Brown – also formerly the head coach of the Waterloo Warriors and Columbus Sailors high school teams – received the Karen Wente Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of dedication to hockey in the Cedar Valley. Karen Wente served as a housing parent and then as the team’s housing coordinator. The team has presented its Distinguished Service Award in her memory since 2009.
The Black Hawks’ regular season concludes with games against the Chicago Steel and Fargo Force. The first of those three matchups is in Young Arena against Chicago on Tuesday evening at 7:05 p.m.