Rookie Carson Kurylo of the Drumheller Dragons has been awarded the 2018 Stewy Stewart Memorial Award. AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartosyhk presented the award prior to tonight’s AJHL playoff game at the Drumheller Memorial Arena.
The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is named in honour of a long-time Calgary area fan who supported hockey at all levels. ‘Stewy’ died in 1997 and the award was created to honour his support and commitment to the game. The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the AJHL player in the South Division that best exhibits the following attributes: character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.
“Carson has best exemplified the characteristics of this award due to his passion for the game and his ability to persevere through extreme circumstances,” said Dragons GM / Head Coach Kevin Hasselberg.
“Last year Carson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Carson has learned to manage this disease, all the while maintaining a positive outlook on the game and in life. He has been able to manage the stress of being a student and a hockey player all the while managing this sickness and still contribute to his personal success and the team’s success on the ice.”
“He is hardest on himself and pushes to be better every shift along the way. Like any other teenager, Carson has his challenges, however, what separates him is his willingness to battle through what ever challenges are thrown his way.”
Along with a nomination from their respective coaching staff, each applicant is required to submit an essay, which outlines his experience applying the attributes of the award criteria. Carson’s essay highlighted his traits in all the required categories as listed in the excerpts below.
“I believe playing hockey at the AJHL levels takes a large amount of dedication and perseverance. Hockey has taught me that without a lot of practice and a lot of effort, you will not be the best you can be. I also approach school and life in general the same way. I try and put in my best effort all the time.”
“As a 17 year-old playing in the AJHL, I have found that you really need to focus on balancing all of the expectations that playing hockey while going to school brings with it. You can’t always win, but if you try your hardest and play the game the way it is supposed to be played, you can hold your head up and feel proud of your contribution, no matter the results.”
“Perseverance is big to the game of hockey, on and off the ice, as this is usually where most players struggle during their junior hockey career. For me this was huge in my life, in April of 2017 I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and during that month I lost around 40 pounds and had barely any muscle or strength. For myself and my family it was a very tough time as doctors were unsure of if I'd be able to play hockey ever again knowing how severe it was. Now after going through the process of what is needed to be done to keep it from coming back, only after three months recovery, I have returned to the ice to do what I loved to do.”