UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets will host their inaugural season awards ceremony prior to Friday's game and both Tom McVie and Eric Weinrich will be in attendance to present awards named in their honor.
The Tom McVie Award, given to the coach's most valuable player, and the Eric Weinrich award, given to the Comets best defenseman, are two of the nine awards that will be presented in an on-ice ceremony.
McVie has spent nearly 60 years in hockey as a player, coach and scout. He spent four memorable seasons as the head coach of the Utica Devils from 1987-1990. He was named the American Hockey League coach of the year after the 1988-89 season and won 151 games during his tenure in Utica. McVie's 329 total AHL wins rank 11th all-time in the league while he also was the head coach of the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. He is currently in his 15th season as a scout with the Bruins.
Weinrich began his professional career in Utica before going on to play 17 seasons in the NHL. He won the Eddie Shore Award as the top defenseman in the AHL in 1990 while playing for the Utica Devils. He graduated to New Jersey the next season and appeared in 1,157 games in the NHL and amassed 388 points (70g, 318a) and 825 penalty minutes. He played his last NHL game in 2006 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
The Comets "Class Guy" award is named in honor of Dave Armstrong. He was part of three straight EHL championships with the Clinton Comets but the award is a credit to his heart and character and the overall person that he is. He is an example for Comets players and continues to be an advocate and ambassador at all levels of hockey. He will be on-hand to present his award as well.
The Bill Horton Award, which was voted on by the fans, will be given to the player with the most heart. Horton coached both the Mohawk Valley Stars and the Mohawk Valley Comets and brought and Atlantic Coast Hockey League Championship in 1982. Through his passion and perseverance he paved the way for the American Hockey League to come to Utica in 1987.
The Ian Anderson Award will be given to the most improved player on the Comets roster. Anderson was one of the most beloved Clinton Comets and was part of three Walker Cup Championships in his five seasons. He was inducted into the Utica Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. After his playing days, he spent much of his time in the Mohawk Valley hockey community and witnessed the many ups and downs. Through his hard work, he greatly improved youth hockey in the Utica area.
Awards will also be given out the Mohawk Valley Media Player of the Year, Excellence in Media Coverage as well as the Dunkin' Donuts Three Stars Award. The Utica Police Department will be presenting the Thomas M. Lindsey Foundation Award to one of the Comets players for their effort in the local community.
Friday's game is Fan Appreciation Night and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Darren Archibald bobblehead courtesy of New York State Tool. All fans will get a Comets team photo courtesy of Labatt Blue. Tickets are available online through uticacomets.com or by coming to the Utica Memorial Auditorium box office.