Wings on fire: NAHL Awards come to Aberdeen

Jun 9, 2021

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the remainder of its awards for the 2020-21 season. The selections are based on performance during the 2020-21 regular season, as voted upon by the league’s 23 head coaches.

2020-21 Organization of the Year: Aberdeen Wings

Led by Owner and Governor Greg Odde and Head Coach/General Manager Scott Langer, the Aberdeen Wings took another step forward as an organization in 2020-21.

With the uncertainty of Covid present throughout the NAHL landscape, the Wings continued to have success on the ice, in the community and at the Odde Ice Center. The Wings, who are the defending Robertson Cup Champions from 2019, set numerous NAHL regular season records in 2020-21 and did it all in front of an average of 1,414 fans per game, which pushed capacity and ranked second in the NAHL this season.

The Wings also continued to be a presence in the community, as it remained an important part of the junior hockey experience to the players and staff, as the Wings teamed up with local schools, partners, hospitals and non-for-profit organizations. In addition, the Wings were one of the NAHL leaders with 13 players from the 2020-21 season with NCAA Division I commitments.

2020-21 All-NAHL 1st Team

Forward: Jay Ahearn, Johnstown Tomahawks

Forward: Cole Hanson, New Mexico Ice Wolves

Forward: Payton Matsui, Aberdeen Wings

Defense: Nico DeVita, Aberdeen Wings

Defense: Grant Docter, Minnesota Wilderness

Goalie: Jake Sibell, Aberdeen Wings

2020-21 All-NAHL 2nd Team

Forward: Clayton Cosentino, Aberdeen Wings

Forward: Braiden Dorfman, Shreveport Mudbugs

Forward: Charlie Schoen, Janesville Jets

Defense: Vincent Corcoran, Wichita Falls Warriors

Defense: Luke Gramer, Bismarck Bobcats

Goalie: Luke Pavicich, Kenai River Brown Bears

2020-21 Most Valuable Player and Vaughn Goaltender of the Year: Jake Sibell, Aberdeen Wings

Sibell, 21, put an assault on the NAHL record book this season.

The 6’2″, 206 lb. native of Isanti, MN, appeared in 47 games during the 2020-21 season and set a new NAHL single-season record with 43 wins, posting an incredible 43-2-1 record. The Niagara University recruit also set NAHL single-season records for goals against average (1.19) and save percentage (.952).

His eleven shutouts this season tied the NAHL single-season record. He was named the NAHL Goaltender of the Month four times.

During the 2016-17 season, he played in the NAPHL for the Omaha AAA 16U team.

2020-21 Forward of the Year: Payton Matsui, Aberdeen Wings

In his lone NAHL season, Aberdeen Wings forward Payton Matsui, 21, was the offensive catalyst for the league’s top team and offense during the regular season.

The 5’8″, 160 lb. /160 native of Lakeville, MN, led the league in scoring during the 2020-21 regular season, recording 65 points (27 goals, 38 assists) in 56 games played. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks commit also led the NAHL with 10 game-winning goals and tied for the league lead in shots on goal with 172 during the season.

He was named the NAHL’s Central Division Star of the Week three times and finished the regular season with 12 points in his final eight games.

2020-21 Coach and General Manager of the Year: Scott Langer, Aberdeen Wings

Aberdeen Wings head coach Scott Langer guided his team to an unprecedented regular season in 2020-21, shattering several NAHL records.

The Wings established new NAHL records for wins in a season (51) and points in a season (103), which was all done in only 56 games. The Wings’ winning percentage of .920 was second all-time in NAHL history, as were the team’s four regulation losses.

In the middle of doing all this, Langer became the all-time winningest coach in NAHL history with his 603rd win back on January 2, 2021. In addition, a total of 13 players on the Wings 2020-21 roster this season were committed to play NCAA Division I hockey.

The Wings had four out of six players on the All-Central Division team and also had the NAHL’s Most Valuable Player and Goaltender of the Year, along with the Forward of the Year and the Community Service Award winner.

2020-21 Community Service Award: Clayton Cosentino, Aberdeen Wings

Costentino has spent the last two seasons in the NAHL with the Wings. He served as team captain in 2020-21 and is well-known in the community for being not only a leader, but a great representation of the Aberdeen Wings.

This season was a little more complicated with COVID regulations, but Cosentino and the Wings did what they could to continue to give back to the community with volunteer hours. The usual focus for the team has been making a difference in the community within school programs, appearances at the School for the Blind, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, helping victims of domestic abuse, waiting tables for community theater, and spreading awareness by participating in the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention 5k.

“As a hockey player, you are always moving to new locations to play for new teams. This means that you have to start fresh everywhere you go and it’s not easy meeting new people when all you know is your house and the rink,” Cosentino said. “Serving in the community gives me the opportunity to connect and get plugged in with people who I would never have met otherwise and create new relationships and friendships.”

During his time in Aberdeen, Cosentino was able to serve in the community by helping out at his local church and reading books for kids. While he does this on his own, he truly believes that his most important contribution of all — and what he finds the most value in — was being a face for the Wings at community events. He enjoys giving back by doing services, but more importantly he loves putting the time in and creating relationships. His goal is to put faces and personalities to the jersey numbers the fans see on the ice and to create a deepened sense of connection between players and community.

His selfless attitude makes those around him want to give back.

“Clayton has always put others and the community ahead of his own personal time. He is the first to want to be out in the community representing the Wings logo,” Wings head coach Scott Langer said. “Clay represented us with class and dignity throughout a year that was tough to navigate. Clay is the face of this team and motivates those around him to do better.”

This year, Cosentino also won the Aberdeen Wings Odde Community Service Award, named after the Odde family, who have a passion for giving back to their community.