Cleaver wins second straight NPHL MVP Award, Leriger named Coach of the Year

Posted on February 1st, 2017

February 1, 2017 Chris Newton, Sports

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Flyers’ Rick Cleaver has been named the North Peace Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.

Cleaver led the NPHL and the Flyers in scoring this season with 31 goals and 32 assists for a total of 65 points. He also led the NPHL with 10 power play goals and 6 game winners to help lead the Flyers to first place in the West Division. Cleaver has led the Flyers in scoring the last two seasons, and was also selected to the West Division All-Star Team for the second season in a row on left wing. His career totals now sit at 72 goals and 69 assists totalling 141 points in only 62 games. Cleaver, who garnered four of seven first place votes, narrowly defeated Grande Prairie’s Mac Caron for the award by four points [22-18]. Both Cleaver and Caron were named on all ballots submitted. Kip Noble is the only other Flyer to win the ward, in 2008-09.

Cleaver also lost out to Mac Caron of the Grande Prairie Athletics by one point in voting for the Best Left Winger in the league. Cleaver was named first on four ballots and Caron two, but Caron placed second in voting on the other ballots to win the award.

Andrew Leriger was named the NPHL’s Coach of the Year after leading the Flyers to first place in the West Division with a 17-5-0 record. In doing so, the Flyers also claimed the Lawrence Cup for placing first overall in the NPHL’s regular season. It was the fourth Lawrence Cup for the Flyers, who won the trophy for three straight seasons from 2006-07 to 2008-09. Leriger becomes only the second Flyers’ coach to win the award after Bob Kalb in 2004-05. Leriger narrowly defeated Grande Prairie’s Glen Watson for the award by 21 votes to 19.

Adam Horst of the Fort St. John Flyers is now a two-time winner of the NPHL’s Best Centre award. Horst first won the award in 2013-14 and is now a two-time All-Star, having been selected to the West Division team. Horst compiled 19 goals and 19 assists for a total of 38 points this season, the third-most in Flyers team scoring. He is also a two-time team leading scorer in 2009-10 and 2013-14. Horst now has 211 points in 102 career NPHL games. The other Flyer to win the Best Centre and/or Top Forward award was David Alexander in 2009-10.

Four Fort St. John players were also named yesterday as NPHL West Division All-Stars. Travis McLean was named as the All-Star goaltender. Adam Horst was named the All-Star team’s centreman, with Rick Cleaver on left wing and Jeff Shipton on the right wing tied with the Grande Prairie Athletics’ Ryan Trudeau. The All-Star selections were a first for McLean, Shipton, and Trudeau while Cleaver and Horst were chosen for the second time.