TRIBUTE to the 2017/18 Graduating Bonnyville PONTIACS

Our graduating players have been a part of two of the best seasons in franchise history during their Junior career.

Charlie GAWLICKI and Riley SMITH are incredible leaders – they both wear letters… they are respected by their coaches and their teammates… they are passionate about the game… and most importantly… they represent what a Bonnyville PONTIAC is as they are all outstanding human beings.

I want the returning players to know that our graduating players never took their time as a junior hockey player for granted. There are so many players around North America who wish they could be lucky enough to call themselves a “PONTIAC” because of the culture that these 2 players helped create. Embrace the words of Charlie and Riley in their ’20 year-old-message’ to our younger players to ‘appreciate every practice, every game and every workout… the end of your junior career comes a lot sooner than you think.’

Love the game so much that you leave an amazing example to pass on to the next PONTIAC who witnesses your dedication,… your work ethic,… and your leadership,… and then that PONTIAC will continue our culture in the direction of success that has been established by your graduating players. That is what being a veteran and being a leader is all about. It is about teaching our younger players “how we do things around here and the way we do things around here.” It is understanding that “doing it right is an ALL the time thing.”

Charlie and Riley have been role models for our organization and mentors for our younger players and it has been a pleasure to watch you grow as individuals and I will remember you both for a long, long time. In the end, I hope you understand that winning and losing (like life's adversity) are a part of the journey but what matters most are the people: the loyal fans,… the generous sponsors,… your teammates that you battled so hard with,… the home support that you receive from your Billet families,… and of course the journey you participated in during your time as a Bonnyville PONTIAC.

You have been a part of 7000 plus hours giving back to our community over the past four years and you have learned as a PONTIAC, that the most important things in life are directly related back and serving others…  by being a good person… and treating those around you the right way. By learning to be servant you have equipped yourself for life because the greatest feeling in the world is to give your gift away.

Our organization is so proud of what you have accomplished and even prouder of whom you have become. You are leaving our organization as good men and your legacy will stay with our program for a very long time.

On behalf of the Bonnyville PONTIACS organization and our community, I want to thank you Charlie and Riley from the bottom of my heart for an incredible ride. You will be missed, and remember that “once a PONTIAC always a PONTIAC!” It has been a privilege and an honor to have you all a part our program.

Ladies and Gentlemen please stand and join me in recognizing our graduating players: Charlie GAWLICKI and Riley SMITH.