It was strictly standing room only as the Paisley Pirates held their end of season Player of the Year awards night in Paisley’s 5 on 5 Club, with, of course, the Scottish Cup showing prominently on the presentation table after the Pirates won in record-breaking style only 2 weeks previously.
In front of a huge turnout, Coach Ian Turley introduced a marathon session of award giving, during which the club introduced each volunteer in turn to receive a commemorative gift as a “thank you” for their help during the season, without which the operation of the club would have been extremely difficult, paying tribute to the army of fans who had given of their time freely to support the club and ensure that all the necessary elements involved in running an ice hockey match were completed throughout the season.
Supporters who had purchased game worn jerseys were presented with them by the player who had worn the strip during the season just ended, and each player received a small award for their services during a year which had seen the club narrowly miss out on the SNL title, finishing in the runners up slot, while in the end of season playoffs they lost agonisingly to the eventual winners, Aberdeen, only on penalty shots after a 2-2 draw, before claiming the Scottish Cup in emphatic fashion, defeating Edinburgh Capitals 9-0.
The coach then paid tribute to two retiring players, netminder Gordon Langford, who had debuted for the Pirates in their inaugural season at the Lagoon back in the 1992/93 season, and utility player Colin McMillan, who had represented the Pirates over a number of seasons both at Braehead and at the Lagoon, both players receiving mementos to mark their time with the club, and thanking everyone for a special time in their careers.
At the beginning of the main award ceremony, there was a moment of poignancy as those present remembered Jim Liddell, one of Pirates’ most fervent supporters, who had passed away two years previously, and whose name was now to feature on the Supporters Club Player of the Year, to be known as the Jim Liddell Trophy, the award on this occasion to being made by his son, Alan.
Thereafter, awards were announced as follows:
Supporters Club Player of the Year Mark Hassan
(for the Jim Liddell Trophy)
Most Improved Player Graeme Meechan
Outstanding Effort & Application Chris Turley
Players’ Player of the Year Graeme Meechan/Mark Hassan (joint award)
Difference Maker Stuart Miller
Most Valuable Player Mark Hassan