By Belleville SENS
BELLEVILLE, ON – The Belleville Senators are excited to announce the winners of the 2022-23 team awards, as selected by members of the Senators hockey operations staff and players.
The six awards recognize the players’ performance and commitment to the organization throughout the season and have been awarded as follows, with stats up to date as of game 68 of the AHL schedule:
Most Valuable Player – Egor Sokolov
Awarded to the player who’s on-ice performance contributes most to team success, this Senators 2022-23 Most Valuable Player is forward Egor Sokolov.
Playing in his second full American Hockey League season (following the shortened campaign in 2020-21), Egor Sokolov led the Belleville Sens in scoring through most of the season and has registered 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists) through 67 games so far, eclipsing his assist total from last season and tying his goal total from 2021-22.
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Egor Sokolov’s selection as Most Valuable Player:
“He leads the team in points, so that makes him an obvious choice. He plays with emotion and drags others into the fight with that emotional investment in the group and he’s an ultimate human being and humanitarian. We should be proud as an organization to use him as a model of how our players should act at the rink and in the community.”
Defenceman of the Year – Jacob Bernard-Docker
Awarded to the team’s top defenceman, the Belleville Sens 2022-23 Defenceman of the Year is Jacob Bernard-Docker.
In his second American Hockey League season, the 22-year-old from Canmore, Alberta has dressed in 38 games for the Belleville Sens, scoring twice and adding three assists, with a plus-5 rating and 27 penalty minutes. Bernard-Docker has also earned two call-ups to the NHL Senators, where he has notched one assist and a minus-3 rating in 17 games.
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Jacob Bernard-Docker’s selection as Defenceman of the Year:
“He’s a rock and exudes the characteristic of your best defenceman is, he’s safe. When you need a safe shift, or a big moment in the game that you need to shut the other team down, we go to JBD. Whether it’s a shot block, or an important clear, or box out around the net, he was consistent from game one to the end as safe and steady.”
Rookie of the Year – Angus Crookshank
Awarded to the team’s top first-year player, the Belleville Sens 2022-23 Rookie of the Year is Angus Crookshank.
The 23-year-old native of North Vancouver, BC, took a bit to get going, but has exploded for 25 goals this season to lead the Belleville offence in that category. Crookshank has also tallied 19 assists over 67 games so far, and has been among the rookie leaders in the American Hockey League in points (44), goals (25), power play goals (12) and shots on goal (181).
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Angus Crookshank’s selection as Rookie of the Year:
“Tenacious is the best word to describe him and he refuses to be denied. He showed so much persistence in coming back from an injury last year that would make a lot of people quit and he just worked so hard on a long rehab, and was rewarded by leading us in goals. He’s an older rookie, but no less deserving as rookie of the year.”
Players’ Choice Award – Cole Cassels
Awarded to the player deemed to be most valuable to the club, as voted on by the players, the Belleville Sens 2022-23 Players Choice Award winner is Cole Cassels.
Playing in his seventh American Hockey League campaign, veteran forward Cole Cassels made an immediate impact with the Sens, returning for his third stint with the team, after starting the 2022-23 season in Sweden. The 27-year-old set new career highs in points (44), goals (10) and assists (34), with four games to play in the regular season.
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Cole Cassels’ selection as Players’ Choice Award winner:
“I think he’s a great sounding board for everybody. He’s been around a couple of organizations, played in Europe, comes from a hockey background, and he’s a calm guy that people can talk to. He can relate to different situations, as a guy who didn’t get a long sniff in the NHL, if our young prospects are feeling, he can talk to them. He’s just a very relatable guy and a calm presence, but also just a guy who cares about people.”
Coaches’ Choice Award – Dillon Heatherington
Awarded to the player deemed to be most valuable to the club, as voted on by the coaching staff, the Belleville Sens 2022-23 Coaches’ Choice Award winner is Dillon Heatherington.
Known for his stalwart defensive play, Heatherington was named Belleville’s captain at the start of the season and led the team through plenty of adversity, including more than 150 transactions, a dozen goaltenders and a grueling schedule. The 27-year-old from Calgary, Alberta set a new career high in goals in a season (four), while also notching nine assists and a plus-six rating. He also earned three NHL appearances with the Ottawa Senators.
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Dillon Heatherington’s selection as Coaches’ Choice Award winner:
“He’s the heart, soul, and heartbeat of our dressing room. He’s the pulse and conscience of the dressing room and always does things with a team-first mindset. He includes everybody, whether you’re a rookie, 10-year veteran, goaltender, forward, whatever, he just makes sure everybody’s happy, safe and healthy. He’s an unbelievable human.”
Man of the Year – Egor Sokolov
Awarded to the player who shows the most commitment to the community, along with their work on the ice, the Belleville Sens 2022-23 Man of the Year is Egor Sokolov.
Along with his stellar on-ice play, Sokolov was an active participant in the team’s community programming and school visits throughout the course of the season. Sokolov also went above and beyond on a number of occasions, including during the Belleville Santa Claus Parade, when he and Coach Dave Bell took part in the Belleville Rotary Club’s “Clowns for Kids” fundraiser, dressing up in a clown costume and walking the parade route, raising thousands of dollars.
Belleville Sens Coach David Bell on Egor Sokolov’s selection as Man of the Year:
“He goes way above and beyond the team-mandated public appearances. Fans, kids in particular, gravitate towards him (I know my kids do) just because he’s so open to talking to people. He’s down to earth and will talk to anybody. He’s a great, solid human being.”
The Belleville Sens remaining three games in the 2022-23 regular season take place on the road, on Friday April 14 at Rochester (7:00 pm), Saturday April 15 at Toronto (4:00 pm) and Sunday April 16 at Toronto (4:00 pm). All three games can be heard via the Belleville Sens Entertainment Network, with details on 2023-24 Season Seat Memberships, the new Business Elite Program and more, available on the Belleville Sens website.