The Waterloo Black Hawks presented 2021/22 team awards during a small gathering of players and staff on Thursday at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Waterloo.
The internal honors are conferred following a secret ballot within the locker room. This year, awards were presented in five categories, in addition to one organizational award.
Defenseman Cooper Wylie was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates. Despite missing 15 games due to a late-season injury, the second-year blue-liner still ended the season as Waterloo’s third-leading scorer with 27 points (six goals, 21 assists). Wylie’s scoring total was 50 percent higher than the 18 points he tallied in 2020/21. His 14 power play points tied for second on the team. Wylie provided one of the season’s early highlights with the overtime-winning goal to cap a four-point night in the Black Hawks’ 4-3 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints on October 16th.
Leading scorer Garrett Schifsky was selected as the Black Hawks’ Rookie of the Year. Spending his first full season at the junior level after seeing eight games last year, Schifsky piled up 28 goals, tying for 12th overall in the USHL. His 46 total points also topped the Waterloo stat sheet. He recorded a point in nine consecutive games from January 14th to February 11th and had a season-high four points in the Hawks’ 9-2 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers on February 26th. He also led the team with five game-winning goals.
Mason McCormick earned the gratifying title of “Hardest Worker.” Playing his final season of junior hockey, the 20-year-old appeared in 46 games with seven goals and nine assists. His final USHL goal came in the first minute of an April 22nd game against the Des Moines Buccaneers, spurring a sweep of the Hawks’ in-state rivals during the final weekend of the season. McCormick was also a key penalty-killer and faceoff-taker.
The regard which McCormick’s teammates hold for him was evident with his additional selection as the team’s “Unsung Hero.”
Rookie defenseman Patrick Geary was chosen as Waterloo’s Most Improved Player. The first-year defenseman played in 55 games. He finished the year as the Hawks’ third-highest scoring defenseman with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists). Geary played increasing minutes and in key situations during the latter part of the season as the Hawks dealt with an increasing number of injuries among defensemen.
Off the ice, Beth Zuck was recognized with the Karen Wente Distinguished Service Award. Zuck has managed a wide range of accounting, payroll, and administrative responsibilities for the team since 2012. The Karen Wente Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of Wente, the team’s former housing coordinator, who passed away in 2009.