Erik Gustafsson turned out to be the big winner at the annual Northern Michigan University hockey awards banquet as he walked home with the Dallas Drake Defensive Player of the Year, Steve Bozek Plus-Minus and Tom Laidlaw Best Defenseman Awards.
Two other Wildcats walked home with two awards each as senior Nathan Sigmund picked up the Jim Mussatto Memorial Fitness and the Clara Pantalone Memorial Community Service Awards. Gregor Hanson took home the Ed Ward Most Improved Player and the Bill Joyce Best Forward Awards.
Gustafsson, who was a first-team All-CCHA selection as well as the Best Offensive Defenseman in the conference for the 2008-09 season, led the Wildcats with 30 assists and tied for second in points with 34. He led the ‘Cats with a +21.
Sigmund’s community service included Hockey Day in Michigan, a volunteer at the Special Olympics and assisted with the Food Festival set-up. He ended his NMU career with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.
Hanson, a sophomore, appeared in 40 games during the season as he registered 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points. He tied with Gustafsson for second on the team in points.
Picking up the Gary Emmons Most Valuable Player Award was goaltender Brian Stewart. He ended the 2008-09 campaign with a 14-13-3 record as he had a 2.32 goals-against average and a .925 save-percentage.
Marquette native Justin Florek was honored with the Don Waddell Best Freshman Award. He accounted for nine goals, eight assists for 17 points while appearing in 40 games.
Seniors Derek May, Nick Sirota and Tim Hartung each were honored with an award. May received the Brad Werenka Coaches Academic Award at the banquet. Sirota picked up the Dennis Sibilsky Memorial Senior Award. Hartung was given the Steve Weeks Unsung Hero Award.
May was NMU’s nominee to the CCHA Scholar-Athlete team for the season. He had a goal and six assists for the 2008-09 season. May ended his NMU career with 10 points on a goal and nine assists. Sirota for the 2008-09 season registered 12 goals, 15 assists for 27 points. For his career he tallied 90 points on 45 goals and 45 assists. Hartung ended his NMU career with 10 goals and 28 assists for 38 points. For the 2008-09 season he had three goals and 10 assists for 13 points.