Photo Credit: Emily Duncan Photography:
Brooks Bandits defenceman Josh Zinger is the recipient of the 2022 Stewy Stewart Memorial Award. The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) player in the South Division that best exhibits the following attributes: character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.
The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is named in recognition of a long-time Calgary area fan who supported hockey at all levels. ‘Stewy’ died in 1997 and the award was created to honour his support and commitment to the game.
“Josh Zinger has become an integral part of our program since joining in December via trade with the Olds Grizzlys,” said Brooks Bandits GM / Head Coach Ryan Papaioannou.
“Josh has an incredible thirst to learn about the game. He puts in countless extra hours to study video of himself, opposing teams and NHL defencemen. His dedication to his body and doing all the necessary work to be in the best shape possible is second to none. He has brought a new level of excellence off the ice to our program.”
“He carries himself with maturity beyond his years which is evident in the perseverance he’s shown through three Junior hockey trades in three seasons. He talks about how much he has learned at each stop on the journey and how that’s shaped him into the player he is today.”
“Lastly it needs saying that Josh was a forward until the last three games of 2020-2021. He converted to defence for Olds late last season as they were faced with injuries and doubled down on the position change this season. He parlayed that into a scholarship to Northern Michigan after only being a defenceman for 34 games. Nothing less than incredible!”
“The game of hockey has affected me in so many ways,” said Josh Zinger. “Being in a team environment has allowed me to develop relationships with all my teammates and coaches.”
“As a rookie I was getting scratched every second game and I knew then the only way to get back in the lineup was to simply practice as hard as I could to show the coaches how bad I wanted to play. This was a big lesson for me because it started to carry over into every practice even when I started to play regularly. Every single game I always want to prove that I deserve to be in the lineup. I am grateful that the game of hockey taught me that lesson because I think that's how life outside of hockey will be as well.”
“Taking the opportunities to learn and grow have allowed me to become a versatile athlete. In hockey and any sport I don't think there are any excuses. There's always more you can do and resources you can use to better yourself every day. I've also been lucky with the teams I've played for as the coaches and my teammates have provided all the support and opportunity to help me get better and all I had to do was to do the work.”
“Hockey develops character because there is always adversity. You are continually forced to overcome challenges if you want to have any success and that builds character. The cool thing is that you get to go through it with all your brothers that you care for and would do anything for, so it makes it that much better.”
Zinger (Red Deer, AB) recorded 49 points (13G, 36A) in the 2021-22 regular season, second amongst AJHL defencemen behind teammate Zach Bookman.
The Brooks Bandits captured the Dave Duchak Trophy as the 2021-22 AJHL Regular Season Champions for the fifth time in franchise history and have earned a bye in Round One of the 2022 AJHL Playoffs.