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 Waterloo Black Hawks

Hawks Announce Team Awards

April 17, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Waterloo Black Hawks News Release

Waterloo, Iowa - Waterloo Black Hawks players and staff gathered Wednesday afternoon to present the team's annual awards.

Forward Gavyn Thoreson was named Most Valuable Player. The 19-year-old St. Cloud State recruit led Waterloo with 65 points (22 goals, and 43 assists). Thoreson's assist and point totals were the highest by a Black Hawk since 2017/18. He also led the team with 20 power play points and tied for second among Waterloo skaters with a +21 plus/minus differential.

During the traditional Thanksgiving game, Thoreson precipitated the Teddy Bear Toss when he scored late in the second period; it proved to be the winning goal during Waterloo's 2-0 victory. That night was part of a 10-game point streak, during which Thoreson was responsible for 18 points. Other clutch performances included a pair of 3-2 Hawks wins on February 18th and March 8th. During the February contest, he scored twice in regulation, then tallied the only shootout goal as Waterloo defeated the Youngstown Phantoms. The March performance against Des Moines also ended when Thoreson put a puck in the net; he tallied the game-winner in overtime after picking up two assists in regulation.

Rookie of the Year John Mustard's most memorable night was a hat trick effort on November 25th against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Mustard's third goal during that 4-3 road win came in overtime. Then on February 3rd, the Providence commit scored four times against the Sioux City Musketeers. By season's end, Mustard led the Black Hawks with 29 goals and ranked second on the team with 56 points. This week, NHL Central Scouting listed him 27th among North American skaters eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft.

Hawks Captain Myles Hilman earned the team's "Unsung Hero" distinction. Hilman missed the first seven games on injured reserve, yet still finished with Waterloo's second-highest goal total: 26. He had eight multigoal games, including two hat tricks. The future Omaha Maverick was credited with at least one shot on goal during every game in which he appeared. It's the second consecutive year Hilman has earned a team award after being named Waterloo's Hardest Worker in 2022/23.

This year's Hardest Worker recognition was conferred upon Reid Morich. The now-19-year-old earned an increasingly prominent place in the Black Hawks' lineup as the season progressed. Always ready to deliver a big hit, Morich scored a goal in four of Waterloo's last six games, finishing the season with eight goals and 11 assists. Morich is a Minnesota State recruit.

Grady Deering also showed notable development during his first season with the team. Deering was named the Hawks' Most Improved Player. He ended the campaign as Waterloo's seventh-leading scorer with 35 points (15 goals and 20 assists), while also proving adept at the faceoff dot. The Iowa native is committed to Wisconsin.

The team saluted Verna Jensen for her 15 years assisting Black Hawks fans in the team's box office. Jensen was presented with the Karen Wente Distinguished Service Award. Karen Wente was a longtime housing parent and team sponsor; the award has been named in her honor since 2009.

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