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Warriors Announce Team Awards for 2023.24 Season

April 15, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Vancouver Warriors News Release

Vancouver, BC - The Vancouver Warriors revealed the winners of the team's annual Team Awards during their final regular season game on Saturday, April 13 at Rogers Arena. Five categories were announced, and four were decided by a fan voting process that spanned from April 3-10.

Best Defenceman & Teammate of the Year: Ryan Dilks

This year's Defender of the Year goes to Ryan Dilks. The 33-year-old has played 17 games this season for the Warriors, ranking first in the NLL for caused turnovers with 44. Dilks also has 96 loose balls after Saturday's game, the second-highest single-season total of his career.

"Ryan's lacrosse IQ is through the roof," said Head Coach and General Manager Curt Malawsky. "His ability to read the play before it happens is a talent that not many players have. He's played a very efficient and affective game all season long."

Dilks has also been chosen as the recipient of the team's newest award, Teammate of the Year, by his fellow Warriors players. His first year with the Warriors has seen him become a leader on the back end, helping mentor some of the younger players on the roster and providing a solid foundational piece that the team could rely on game-in and game-out.

"This award is special because it's picked by the players," said Malawsky. "As a team, we feel that Ryan has been better than advertised. We knew he was a great teammate and an even better leader. But he has exceeded all expectations. Being a good teammate first is something this organization really prides itself on. No better person exemplifies that than Dilksy."

Rookie of the Year: Owen Grant

In his debut season after being selected 3rd overall in the 2022 NLL Entry Draft, Owen Grant ranks first on the Warriors roster out of all the rookies in points entering the season's final week (8-3-11), while being tied for third amongst all NLL defenceman in goals. He also ranks t-3rd on the team and is tied with Brayden Laity for first amongst Warriors rookies with 95 loose balls, and his 25 caused turnovers also ranks second on the Warriors' roster. He also leads all Warriors rookies in shots on goal (24).

"Owen competes so hard every shift," commented Malawsky. "He has an engine that never quits. He's played in key situations all season long. For a young player, his poise under pressure has been wise beyond his years."

Unsung Hero: Riley Loewen

The 2023.24 season's Unsung Hero award goes to Riley Loewen. Donning the black, white and gold for 16 games this season, Loewen has totaled 51 points for the Warriors (15-36-51) after Saturday's contest. Stepping up when he needs to, his hat trick on March 1, 2024, vs the Buffalo Bandits was crucial in a 13-12 win for the Warriors.

"Riley has had a great season," Malawsky said. "For a veteran guy, he plays the game to what we refer to as 'the right way'. Always going to the dirty areas on the floor, constantly moving and creating space for his teammates. He has a great mind for the offensive side of the game. Knowing when to get involved knowing when to clear space. His selfless play is what makes him a key contributor to the team."

Most Valuable Player (MVP): Ryan Dilks & Keegan Bal

Sharing this year's award for MVP, both Ryan Dilks and Keegan Bal both contributed to the Warriors' success and strong second half of the season, on the back end and up front, respectively.

Bal currently sits 8th in league scoring with 99 points (45-54-99) after Saturday's game. His 45 goals rank t-4th in the NLL while also marking the highest single-season total of his career. The Coquitlam, BC native has also set career-highs in power play goals, shots on goal, and caused turnovers this season.

"Keegan has had an amazing season," Malawsky said. "Not only has he been scoring at a torrid pace, but he has really made everyone around him better. That is a true sign of an MVP."

Dilks, from Hamilton, ON, was one of the team's biggest offseason acquisitions, contributing both on and off the floor and helping set the standard as to what is expected each week.

"Ryan's been exceptional all year," Malawsky commented. "He's picked up the toughest checks, the other team's best players, whether they're left-handed or right-handed. He's made key plays in key moments of games. He has really helped the maturation of our young defenceman as well."

The Warriors close out their regular season schedule on Friday, April 19th when the team heads to San Diego to take on the Seals. Faceoff is at 7p.m. PT.

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