Photos by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com
The Vancouver Nighthawks are proud to announce the team award winners for their second season. If you asked any of them, they would defer credit to their teammates, repeating that ultimate is a team game. Be that as it may, they are just going to accept their award-winning status like the humble players they are.
The first three awards were chosen by team insiders and senior staff, and were all unanimous picks.
Outstanding Offensive Player – Brendan Wong
In his first MLU season, Wong obliterated the league record for goals in a season, totaling 48 for an average of almost five a game, and added 16 assists to also break the MLU record for points in a season with 64. His combination of speed, jumping ability and a nose for the end zone made him the fulcrum of Vancouver’s O-line, which scored the second-most regular season goals in the league, only a few behind eventual MLU champion D.C. Current. Along with the scoring crown, Wong also won the MLU Western Conference MVP and Rookie of the Year awards.[iframe width=”624″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/7SqZUokvEAk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe]
Outstanding Defensive Player – Morgan Hibbert
After battling injuries last season, Hibbert came into the 2014 season healthy and able to unleash his combination of size, speed, hops and savvy. He was a dominant force on Vancouver’s D-line on his way to tying the MLU single season record of 20 Ds and collecting the Western Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. And he was also a force with the disc in his hands, scoring more points than any other D-liner in the entire league with his unique ‘who needs a flick when you can throw a backhand with either hand’ style. His throwing prowess is underlined by the fact that he took almost every pull for the team this year, and he often subbed on with the O-line when they needed a lift.[iframe width=”624″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/MWNdTfK6l_o” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
Most Exciting Player – Peter Yu
At 5-foot-7, Peter Yu is usually the shortest player on the field, and he didn’t turn 21 until partway through his first MLU season, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an important part of the Nighthawks D-line. He became the go-to guy for marking the other team’s main handler, using his speed, maneuverability, willingness to sacrifice his body and his ability to anticipate the disc a pass or two in the future to break up the other team’s offensive flow. You just can’t take your eyes off him, whether he is doing a monster layout, juking around like a waterbug or throwing high release passes for goals. He’s a playmaker.
The following two awards were voted on by the players.[iframe width=”624″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/UpKqx3iUvEU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
Most Valuable Player – Morgan Hibbert
Brendan Wong may have been chosen as the Western Conference MVP by experts from around the league, but for those who know him best, his teammates, Morgatron was the choice for team MVP. His on-field achievements have been covered, but equally important for the Nighthawks is the leadership he shows; it’s no accident that he was chosen as team captain. When his teammates needed a pep talk or a dressing down, Morgan was always willing to step up and deliver it, and late in the season when none of the coaches were able to attend a must-win road game, he stepped in and helped call the lines. He is the ultimate competitor.[iframe width=”624″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/a3wjKvtGlu4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
Most Underrated Player – Kevin Underhill
This was Underhill’s second season with the Nighthawks, and he carved himself out a place as an integral part of the O-line’s handling core. Keane Knapp never throws the disc away, Kirk Savage has an amazing repertoire of throws and John Norris is a swashbuckler, but Underhill is the glue. He handled the disc more than any other Nighthawk by a good margin, catching, throwing and completing many more passes than any of his teammates. He tied for the team lead in assists with 22 and added 5 Ds to boot. It’s likely he won’t be underrated much longer…
And finally, here’s an award voted on by the Nighthawks fans.
Fan Favourite – Gagan Chatha
The other outstanding youngster on this year’s Nighthawks, Gagey also turned 21 during the season. With his height, long arms, hops and ability to read the flight of the disc, he is a mesmerizing performer, and quickly cemented for himself a starting role on the O-line. With his bashful grin, he exudes charisma by the bucketful, and always has a vocal contingent of fans cheering him on at home games. Heck, during every game at Thunderbird Stadium you could spot a sign proclaiming that a fan wanted to have his baby!
In this 2014 class of award winners, the best news is that three of them are under 25, and even the two old guys look like they have plenty left in the tank. The future looks bright!
Here’s a full list of the League Awards won by members of the Nighthawks
Week 1 Hucket Offensive Play of the Week – Aaron Loach
Week 2 Spikeball Defensive Play of the Week – Alex Davis
Week 7 Innova Pulsar Throw of the Week – Peter Yu
Week 9 Spikeball Defensive Play of the Week – Morgan Hibbert
Week 10 Hucket Offensive Play of the Week – John Norris
Western Conference Defensive Player of the Year – Morgan Hibbert
Western Conference Offensive Player of the Year – Brendan Wong
Western Conference Most Valuable Player – Brendan Wong
Major League Ultimate Scoring Title – Brendan Wong