The Manitoba Junior Hockey League has announced that defenceman Ben Hilhorst has been named the recipient of the 2020-21 MJHL Community Award for his work within the areas of Neepawa and OCN.
“During the regular season, each MJHL member team nominated a worthy player who made a positive contribution in their local community,” read a release from the league. “All 12 players nominated displayed outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship both on and off the ice and a commitment to volunteerism. RBC graciously made a donation on each player’s behalf to their respective local school division.”
A fourth-year graduating MJHL member, Hilhorst began his junior career with the Neepawa Natives from 2017-19. He then moved to OCN, where he was named team captain and has been for the past year-and-a-half. The Pilot Mound Hockey Academy graduate put up seven goals, 25 points and 180 penalty minutes in 145 regular season games in his MJHL career.
He had one goal, three points and six penalty minutes in six contests this season prior to the league being shut down once again due to COVID-19.
Thank you to the Grade 1/2 split class at Cranberry Portage Elementary and to the Grad 6 class at Scott Bateman Middle School for having Captain Ben Hilhorst @BenHilhorst read to them and take part in a QNA as part of the #MJHL @APTN Hockey Hopes Program. 📓🥅🏒 @mjhlhockey pic.twitter.com/uQNqVYj4m2
— OCN Blizzard (@OCNBlizzard) March 25, 2021
Working with children during school visits, shovelling walking paths for seniors and participating in numerous community fundraisers were key cogs in the league’s decision to award the Killarney product with the annual recognition.
“Ben has displayed outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship both on and off the ice and an amazing commitment to volunteerism during his time in the MJHL,” MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette said. “He is a very worthy recipient of this recognition.”