Firstly, Nanooks senior captain Kevin Petovello was recognized by the CCHA and the Terry Flanagan Memorial award, recognizing him for his perseverance, dedication, and courage from his recovery from an injury he sustained earlier this season.
During his acceptance speech at the CCHA awards banquet at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Thursday, Kevin lauded the dedication of the coaching staff for getting behind him, and pushing him to success.
"The person of my greatest appreciation is our team strength and conditioning coach and (athletic) trainer Mike Curtin. He never once allowed me to think that finishing the year was impossible. He spent countless hours with me strengthening my knee to where I could play again. It's people like Mike that deserve recognition here tonight. A man who is committed to the success of his program and will put his heart and soul into the team, which is the kind of man Terry Flanagan was."Kevin's knee injury kept him out of commission for just 3 games before he was able to get back on the ice, with the 4 week holiday break aiding his recovery. After he first returned to action, you could tell that he wasn't getting as much ice time as he was used to, but after a while, you couldn't even tell that he was injured.
I'm really glad Kevin was recognized. For a guy who isn't an epic scorer like the Andy Miele's of the world, Kevin's passion for the game and for his team is unrivaled. To play under those conditions, and play through the pain like that is purely selfless, and his dedication is nothing short of amazing.
Nanooks junior defensemen Joe Sova will forego his final year of eligibility as he signed a free agent contract with the New Jersey Devils yesterday. Joe finished his junior season with 24 points, 2nd on the team and 2nd among all CCHA defensemen. He had 13 goals and 45 assists in 115 career games.
“It's been a lifelong dream to play professional hockey,” said Sova in a press release by the athletic department. “It's exciting and Alaska has played a major role in my development. I've learned and experienced a lot and obviously I couldn't go where I'm going without having been here. I owe a lot to guys I've played with like Vanny (Steve Vanoosten) and Aaron Gens for the past two years, as well as all the other guys around me and the coaching and support staff,” Sova said. “I owe a lot to them and I'm grateful to everyone, especially the guys. I've made some lifelong friends here in the past three years.”
Sova left Fairbanks this past Wednesday to get acquainted with his new coaches and teammates. I suspect that we won't see him dressed for their game against the Islanders on Sunday, but it could happen. In all likelihood, Sova will suit up for their AHL affiliate Albany Devils with former Nanook All American Tyler Eckford later next week.
The Devils have not announced terms of his contract, as per their policy, but we all know money talks. Joe has great talent, and is a good pick up for New Jersey, who have been struggling to find consistency on their blue line of late.