By Lee Samuels

Once again the Vegas Hockey Awards will be announced on midnight New Year’s Year. The big awards are for the 2019 Player of the Year – an award Jason Zucker has won 12 straight years, the Vegas Coaches of the Year (very very very heavy voting for this), and the UNLV Rebels Players of the Year – offensively, defensively and goalie – plus special awards for Best Players, Best Defensemen and goalies at all levels. UNLV’s top defenseman Eric Williiams is a very unique, special player.

It is rare for a Las Vegas goal scorer to play in the WHL but that is exactly where the great Erik Atchison is playing with the WHL Spokane Chiefs.

There are many great coaches, players and teams in town. The WSHL Las Vegas Thunderbirds in their debut season have a top coach in Dave Hrysky and some amazing players including Emil Svartbro, Tomas Urbanec and a premier goalie in Rhett Bruckner.

High School teams in town have top coaches including Pokey Reddick at Faith Lutheran HS and a high level of players and goalies. The Vegas Jr Golden Knights High School teams play in the Ducks League and have great goal scorers including Tristan Toth.

There is a Hockey Person of the Year Award. Nick Robone, the great assistant coach for the UNLV Rebels has won this award a number of times. This season defenseman Tristan Nelson of the AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u has shown he deeply cares for others including the homeless and others in desperate need and has received a number of votes for this particular award.

The Wally Lacroix-coached AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u are Defending National Champions and are off to a tremendous start this season. Todd Owen is the defensive coach for the hard-skating AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u who give it their all and who have a tremendous will to win.