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Grant Rollheiser, April 11, 2015 (Photo Courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)

The end of a team’s hockey season always leaves a touch of sadness, whether it is a winning season or even one that has ended far too early, however it is all part of the cycle of professional hockey life. For fans it can be very bittersweet as they realize that some of their favorite players could move on to other teams but there is also a certain amount of eagerness to see how the team will rebuild for the following season.

Players look forward to returning home to take a much-needed break and then they will quickly return to their training schedules to prepare for the next season. It is part and parcel of the life of a professional hockey player, and they all will tell you that they realize this is just part of the business.

Last night the Wichita Thunder ended their season and while they were not able to beat the odds to clinch a playoff position, they still gave their fans a good run to the end. Prior to last night’s game the team handed out their end of season awards and fans were able to share in the team’s recognition of those players who made outstanding contributions to the team this season.

The Thunder’s Community Service Award was presented to veteran R.G. Flath for his efforts in the Wichita community, and he is no stranger to this award since he has received it three years in a row.

Kirill Tulupov was presented with Wichita’s Most Improved Player Award for his overall skill improvement over this season, his positive contribution to the team and its special teams. Tulupov ended the season with a professional high 21 points (7 goals and 14 assists) with 119 shots on goal.

The team’s Unsung Hero Award was presented to Dan Milan for his unnoticed efforts which positively helped the team. While Milan didn’t have a great many points (1 goal and 16 assists), his 178 penalty minutes certainly made him a fan favorite in Wichita.

The Thunder’s Glass Rattler of the Season was given to Todd Hosmer for his physical presence and strong offensive play. Hosmer tallied 22 goals and 21 assists for a total 43 points this season.

The team’s Best Defenseman Award was given to Mike Wilson for his contribution to the team this season — 13 goals and 37 assists for a total of 50 points, ranking third overall in points for the team.

The Wichita Thunder’s MVP Award for the season was presented to forward Danick Gauthier, the team’s leading scorer with 30 goals, 40 assists and a total of 70 points for the season.


Covering the Wichita Thunder this season has been a great adventure and I look forward to next season! Many thanks to the Thunder and Jason Mals for allowing me the access to cover the team, and to Ed Bailey for the use of his outstanding photos. It was a pleasure to work alongside all of you this season, and I always enjoyed our great hockey talk in the Media room. See you next season!

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April 11, 2015 (Photo Courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)

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April 11, 2015 (Photo Courtesy Ed Bailey. All Rights Reserved.)