Shinkaruk, Atwell, McGuckin named league's best

by Casey Bryant

Three Danbury Hat Tricks received acclaim from the FPHL as being one of the best at their respective positions. Carter Shinkaruk was one of six players named FPHL Forward of the Year, while Aaron Atwell was one of four given Defender of the Year honors. Tom McGuckin was voted Goaltender of the Year alongside Danville's Jesse Gordichuk.

Shinkaruk joined the Hat Tricks seven games into the season and made an immediate impact. He scored in his Danbury debut and would go on to lead the Hat Tricks in scoring with 62 points in 39 games. He racked up four goals on the powerplay plus one shorthanded. He also tallied five game-winning goals. Shinkaruk's consistency was key to his success, as he had two separate point streaks of 10 games or more over the course of the season.

"This award is the direct result of the countless hours of work and dedication put forward by my teammates, coaches and staff," Shinkaruk acknowledged. "Hockey is the ultimate team sport, and with team success comes personal success. It's been a pleasure to play in front of the best fans in the league at Danbury Arena. All of us players really appreciate the fan support, and we're devastated we were unable to finish what we started. Looking forward to hoisting the Commissioner's Cup next season!"

Atwell was acquired from the Danville Dashers via trade after spending eight games in Illinois. He was thrust into a spot on the top pair, spending the majority of the season alongside veteran Steve Brown. Atwell posted 21 points in 26 games in a Danbury uniform, including a powerplay goal and a +23 rating.

"It's an honor to receive this award," said Atwell. "I feel I've been overlooked for most of my career, but I know I play my best with good players and when I'm having fun. Thank you to the city of Danbury, to my teammates, my coaches, staff and medical team, and the fans for making it one of the most fun and successful seasons I've ever played."

McGuckin was part of a highly successful goaltending trio in Danbury. In just his first professional season, he notched a 17-5-1 record, a 3.10 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. He was called up to the SPHL, missing a month of the FPHL season to be with the Fayetteville Marksmen. Even with that missing time, he finished third in the league in wins and goals-against average. McGuckin backstopped eight of the Hat Tricks' 11-game win streak- the longest team win streak in Danbury pro hockey history.

"I'm extremely humbled and honored to receive this award," commented McGuckin. "It wouldn't have been possible without my teammates and coaching staff. The family that was built in the locker room throughout the season was incredible and I am honored to have been a part of something that special."

The Hat Tricks would like to extend congratulations to the other recipients of the All-League awards:

Forwards: Tyler Gjurich, ELM; Matt Graham, PHP; Fred Hein, DAN; Petr Panacek, CAR; Deric Boudreau, WAT.
Defenders: Kyle Powell, WAT; Daniel Klinecky, CAR; Cameron Yarwood, ELM.
Goalie: Jesse Gordichuk, DAN.