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NEWS: Pettersson, Munich, Välilä & Söderström all winners

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The 2018 Fenix Outdoor European Hockey Awards were handed out on Tuesday night at the Awards Gala organized by the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (E.H.C.). All winners were on hand in the Czech capital to accept their prizes.

The winners:

Young Player of the Year - presented by Fjällräven

Elias Pettersson (Växjö Lakers, SHL) – Never in the history of Swedish hockey has a junior player made such impact as the 19-year old forward. Pettersson swept the SHL honours, incl. MVP, playoff MVP and Rookie of the Year. He beat Kent Nilsson’s 42-year old scoring record for juniors, and became the first Swedish player since Håkan Loob in 1982-83 to win both the regular season and playoff scoring. Elias ended season by winning the IIHF World Championship gold with Sweden.
Other nominees: Rasmus Dahlin (Frölunda, SHL), Miro Heiskanen (IFK Helsinki, Liiga), Kirill Kaprizov (CSKA, KHL) Eeli Tolvanen (Jokerit, KHL). 

Coach of the Year - presented by Globetrotter

Frederik Söderström (Storhamar, GET-League, Norway) – Storhamar ended rival Stavanger Oilers’ six year domination of Norwegian hockey. The new, fairly unknown Frederik Söderström, led Storhamar to a regular season win by 15 points and the team lost only two playoff games in its run towards the championship, the club’s first in ten years. Söderström had a profound impact in changing the mindset and heartset of the team, and installing a winning attitude.

Other nominees: Sam Hallam (Växjö, SHL), Andrew Lord (Cardiff, EIHL), Kai Suikkanen (Bolzano, EBEL), Libor Zábranský (Brno, CZE).

Club of the Year - presented by Hanwag

Red Bull München (DEL, Germany) – Became the first DEL club to win three regular season championships and follow it up with three playoff titles, and Red Bull München qualified for the Champions Hockey League for a fourth consecutive time. Seven Red Bull players were in the German national team which won Olympic silver in Pyeongchang, and the club put 17 players on the national team throughout the season. The Red Bull Youth Hockey Academy developed many talents for the German U18 and U20 national teams.  

Other nominated clubs: JYP Jyväskylä (Liiga, FIN), Kärpät Oulu (Liiga, FIN), Storhamar Hamar (GET-League, NOR), Växjö Lakers (SHL, SWE).

Warrior Award

The Warrior of the Year is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication, career excellence, combined with a community service and high standard of playing ability.

Riikka Välilä (HV71, SDHL, SWE) – Arguably the most amazing career ever in international hockey. Riikka Välilä became the first European women to be inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame (2010), and when she came back from a ten-year retirement, she embarked on another Hall of Fame worthy career, now at 39. While still a dominant on league level, Riikka showed that she is still also one of the finest women hockey players in the world while leading Finland to a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics – twenty years after her first bronze at Nagano 1998.

Other nominees: Christian Ehrhoff (Kölner Haie, DEL, GER), Martin Erat (Kometa Brno, CZE), Tomi Kallio (TPS, Liiga, FIN), Mathias Seger (Zurich, NL, SUI).