Lee is MJHL rookie of the year; Kirkup named to second all-star team

Justin Lee

Oil Caps blueliner Justin Lee was named the MJHL rookie of the year on Sunday.

The 17-year-old from Waskada has seven goals and 28 assists for 35 points in 55 games thus far this season.

Lee, drafted in the second round (18th overall) by the Oil Caps in the 2015 MJHL Bantam Draft, recently made a big decision on his hockey future, committing to the University of Denvers Pioneers Division 1 men’s hockey team.

Lee was also named to the MJHL rookie all-star team.

Tyler Kirkup

Meanwhile, Oil Caps leading scorer Tyler Kirkup was named to the MJHL second all-star team. The Virden product currently leads the MJHL in goals with 37 (as of Feb. 25) and has 72 points in 58 games.

Congrats to both Justin and Tyler!


Here is the full list of award winners:

Steve “Boomer”  Hawrysh MVP Award

Dexter Kuczek, Winnipeg Blues

Kuczek, 20, hails from Winnipeg and currently sits second in the MJHL scoring race with 85 points (33-52) in 55 games. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Kuczek was recently named the RBC Player of the Month for January, in addition to twice winning the Recycle Everywhere MJHL Player of the Week honour.

Rookie of the Year – Vince Leah Trophy

Justin Lee, Virden Oil Capitals

Lee, 17, hails from Waskada, Mb., and has adjusted quickly to the quick pace of Junior A hockey. He recently committed to University of Denver and was named the IBAM Rookie of the Month in November. He was also invited to the Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge tournament. He currently has 35 points (7-28) in 55 games.

Hockey Ability – Frank McKinnon Memorial Trophy

Drew Worrad, Steinbach Pistons

Worrad, 20, hails from Birr, Ont. He recently committed to Western Michigan University Mustangs, joining Piston teammate Riese Gaber. Mustangs are coached by former NHL head coach and Manitoba native Andy Murray, who was once an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets 1.0.

Worrad, who was acquired in the off season from Ontario, has 75 points (26-49) in 47 games, while accumulating only 14 PIM.

Top Goaltender

Troy Martyniuk, Winkler Flyers

Martyniuk, 20, played his minor hockey in Winnipeg. He currently leads all MJHL goaltenders with wins (28) and minutes played (2,738). He’s also considered the back bone of the Flyers, helping guide the club to its 37th straight playoff appearance.

In November he was named the MGEU-MJHL goaltender of the month.

Top Defenceman – Brian Kozak Trophy

Darby Gula, Steinbach Pistons

Gula, 20, calls Steinbach home and has thrilled his many fans with his outstanding play. He currently leads all MJHL defenceman in scoring with 14 goals and 61 points in 54 games. He’s also proven dangerous on the powerplay, reflected in 19 assists with the man advantage.

Gula, 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, recently committed to Bemidji State.

Coach of the Year – Portage Terriers Muzz McPherson Award

Paul Dyck, Steinbach Pistons.

Currently, the Pistons have only eight losses this season and have been nationally ranked No. 1 several times by the CJHL. Dyck, a former draft of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was head coach when the Pistons won the MJHL in 2013. Under Dyck’s tutelage, the Pistons have graduated a number of players to both NCAA and CIS hockey programs. He won this same award last year.


First All Star Team     

Goal                Matthew Thiessen      Steinbach Pistons

Defence           Darby Gula                 Steinbach Pistons

Defence           Mackenzie Dwyer       Portage Terriers

Forward          Dexter Kuczek            Winnipeg Blues

Forward          Drew Worrad              Steinbach Pistons

Forward          Brad Schoonbaert       Steinbach Pistons


Second All Star Team

Goal                Troy Martyniuk          Winkler Flyers

Defence           Brendan Bartlett         Winnipeg Blues

Defence           Mitch Dyck                 Winkler Flyers

Forward          Chase Brakel              Portage Terriers

Forward          Jeremey Leipsic          Portage Terriers

Forward          Tyler Kirkup               Virden Oil Capitals


Rookie All Star Team

Goal                Matthew Thiessen      Steinbach Pistons

Defence           Justin Lee                    Virden Oil Capitals

Defence           Michael Ladyman       Winnipeg Blues

Forward          Austin Heidemann      Steinbach Pistons

Forward          Jaymes Knee               Dauphin Kings

Forward          Matthew Osadick        Swan Valley Stampeders


Each all-star winner will receive their award at their home rink over the next two weeks. The MJHL’s top scorer, who will be decided upon season’s end, will receive the Mike Ridley Trophy, named after the prolific goal scorer who starred with the St. Boniface Saints and starred in the NHL.

With files from MJHL release