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Date Published: February 5, 2006

Local minor hockey fans always enjoy the challenge of trying to identify the future stars of tomorrow at a very young age, albeit seldom with any degree of success. But one name that continued to pop up as we canvassed Novice and Minor Atom coaches in the past year or so is that of Walden forward Ryan Punkari.

The grade four student at Jessie Hamilton Public school has been an absolute scoring machine for the Red Devils for much of the past two years. But he knows its time to start adjusting his game. “Everyone is improved so I really have to keep working on my passing…and we can body check this year”, says the smooth-skating nine year old.

The middle of three boys in the family, Punkari was surprisingly quite hesitant about getting his start in hockey. “I was really worried just stepping on the ice, scared of wiping out” says Punkari, as father Marty notes that he waited one extra year before enrolling the youngster in Canada’s winter sport.

Like most young hockey players his age, Punkari loves to score, a skill set he works on continuously. “I’m working on my wrist shot, trying to go top corner…and my slapshot needs to be better.” Bad news indeed for opposing netminders who have witnessed far too many pucks deposited behind them courtesy of the talkative Lively native.

“I remember scoring one on my knees after getting knocked down last year – I kind of swooped at the puck” recalls Punkari of one of his favourite goal-scoring memories. It should come as little shock that the youngster lists puck-handling wizard Alexander Ovechkin as his favourite NHLer.

Spring and summer brings the onset of lacrosse to Punkari’s schedule, and he understands that there are cross-benefits to the sport. “The running is good…but I like hockey better – you can work in a few more breaks when you’re skating.” 






Previous Winners:


December 31, 2006

Zakarie Glaude

July 9, 2006

Spencer Burton

April 4, 2006

Justin Leclair

March 8, 2006

Matt Boivin

February 5, 2006

Ryan Punkari

January 17, 2006

Rebecca Mailloux

October 31, 2005

Ross Proudfoot

July 28, 2005

Mike McCue

July 1, 2005

Cloe Lacasse


June 16, 2005

Kristine Lalonde


May 22, 2005

Scott Vaillancourt


May 11, 2005

James Clendenning


April 1, 2005

Erika Kiviaho


March 6, 2005

Sammy Behnke-Groves


January 23, 2005

Jaimee Lafreniere


January 2, 2005

Trina Czerkas


December 12, 2004

Danielle Rancourt



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