The 2016/17 did not end the way the Crusaders obviously wanted it too. A 5-2 loss in the first round of the Gas Drive Cup playoffs against the Bonnyville Pontiacs sealed a Crusaders fait, leaving them to wonder what they could have done better.
Despite the early exit, the Crusader players and coaches still deserved to hold their heads high, after a number of them had a top quality season. Head Coach Adam Manah became the youngest AJHL head coach to win, Ty Readman finished in the top 10 in league scoring, both Ben Sowa and Chase Torontow hit the 200 game milestone, and Tanner Younghans finished second in the league in game winning goals.
One player in particular that had an outstanding season was the fourth year forward Tyler Maltby. Maltby joined his fellow teammate Ty Readman in the top 10 of league scoring, he led the AJHL for the second season in goals, he also finished top 10 in both shorthanded and powerplay goals. To put the cherry on top, on March 23rd, Maltby was named a part of the 2016/17 Viterra North Division All-League Team. The Crusaders goalscorer was joined by goaltender Eric Szubor (Fort McMurray Oil Barons), defensemen Ian Mitchell (Spruce Grove Saints) and Curtis Roach (Fort McMurray Oil Barons), and Whitecourt forwards Joseph Nardi and Justin Young.
With Maltby’s addition to the All-League Team, he becomes the eighth Crusader to be honoured by the league. Also, Tyler Maltby extended the streak of Crusader player being named to the All-League Team joining the likes of Ryan Kruper, Tommy Nixon, Nicholas Jones, Josh Healey and Peter Quenneville.
Tyler Maltby was an electrifying player throughout the 2016/17, his ability and the threat he brought every night will be difficult to replace. His performances throughout the campaign made him fully deserving of this league accolade.