The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced its All-Division teams and honors for the 2016-17 season, and the Aston Rebels were huge winners within the East Division.
The Rebels had four players named to the All East Division team: forward Andrew Bellant, defensemen Gvido Jansons and Brennan Kapcheck and goaltender Mareks Mitens.
Bellant had the most points on the team with 55 (27 goals and 28 assists). He also was the team’s top goal scorer with 27. He also had the most game winning goals with seven but also had the most penalty minutes on the team with 156. Bellant was the East Division’s player of the week for week ending October 2. He was named honorable mention for forward of the months of September and October, and he was the second star of the week for March 26. Bellant also was voted the team’s Best Offensive Player of the Year. Bellant is the Rebels all-time leader in the following categories: points (86), goals (40), assists (46), penalty minutes (287), points per season (55) and goals per season (27).
Jansons, the Arizona State University commit, was third on the team with 46 total points (19 goals and 27 assists). He played in the World Junior Championships back in December for his home country Latvia, and in the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament in February having one point in two games. He was named the East Division’s second star of the week for week ending October 9 and December 11 while he was honorable mention for week ending January 15.
Kapcheck, pound for pound the best defenseman in the league, had 42 total points on the season (17 goals and 25 assists). The American International College commit had a +37 +/- ratio. He was named the Rebels Best Defensive Player of the Year. He was named honorable mention for week ending October 30, honorable mention for defenseman of the month for October, second star of the week for week ending November 13 and defenseman of the month for November.
Mitens was named the East Divison’s Most Valuable Player and East Division goaltender of the year. The Ventspils, Latvia native and Lake Superior State commit led the NAHL in wins (31), goals against average (1.63) and shutouts (11). The eleven shutouts set a new NAHL single season record for most shutouts in a season. He also played for his native Latvia in the World Junior Championships back in December. He played in five games and was the backbone of his team. He faced the third most shots in the tournament (170), and he was named Player of the Game for one of his games. He was the league’s goaltender of the month for October and November (runner up in September). He was the East Division’s player of the week for weeks ending November 6 and February 12.
Coombs was named the East Division’s general manager and head coach of the year. This is the second straight season Coombs was named the East Division’s Coach of the Year. His two years at the helm he has compiled a 81-32-7 record. His teams have won back-to-back East Division championships and this year was the NAHL’s regular season champion.
Dom Garcia, the Rebels captain and Arizona State University commit, won the East Division’s leadership award. He won the Rebels’ Hardest Working Player and Most Valuable Player awards for the 2016-17 season. He was second on the team in total points with 47 (14 goals and 33 assists).
The Rebels were named the East Division’s Organization of Year for the second straight year.
The teams and honors were voted upon and selected by the league’s 24 head coaches, and the awards were based on the performance during the 2016-17 regular season.