Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin among locals honored by Bessone Committee as Kasey Bellamy Award winner

Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin was selected as the Kacey Bellamy Award winner presented to the most valuable female player in western Massachusetts each season. Arguin, a senior on the Pope Francis girls hockey team, was a captain for the Cardinals this season.

Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin was selected as the Kacey Bellamy Award winner presented to the most valuable female player in western Massachusetts each season. Arguin, a senior on the Pope Francis girls hockey team, was a captain for the Cardinals this season. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Report

Published: 03-25-2024 3:07 PM

After another outstanding winter on the ice, several Hampshire County hockey players will be rewarded for their efforts at the annual Amo Besson Awards Committee reception on April 11.

Amherst’s Ivorie Arguin, who plays on the Pope Francis girls’ hockey team, headlines the award winners after being selected for the Kacey Bellamy Award. The award is presented to the most valuable female player in western Massachusetts each season.

Arguin, a senior forward, helped the Cardinals to the No. 8 seed in the MIAA Division 1 tournament and a berth in the Sweet 16 this season. Pope Francis finished 13-8-2 overall.

Hopkins Academy’s Liam Flynn, a senior defenseman on the Amherst co-op program, and Belchertown’s Zach Buffone, who plays at Pope Francis, were both selected to receive the Eddie Shore Award, presented to the region’s top defensive players. Flynn and the Hurricanes earned a spot in the MIAA Division 3 state tournament thanks to a 12-8-1 season, while Buffone aided the Cardinals in their 17-6 campaign that saw them reach the Sweet 16 in the Division 1 tourney.

Easthampton senior forward Zach Roy was also honored for a big winter on the ice, and he’s the recipient of the Bill Ryan Sportsmanship Award. Roy and the Eagles also earned a Division 3 state tournament berth, finishing with a record of 12-9-0.

Amherst’s Mike Rousseau will also be honored for his efforts this winter. Rousseau is the winner of the committee’s Joe Buchholz “Coach of the Year” Award for this season.

The awards will be presented during an April 11 reception at the Dante Club in West Springfield. Each of the 12 major Bessone awards includes a $500 scholarship.

The Bessone awards are the legacy of Amo “Betts” Bessone, who grew up in West Springfield and gained national recognition as NCAA Division I Coach of the Year when his Michigan State hockey team won the national championship in 1966. Bessone coached Michigan State for 28 years and recruited many players from Western Massachusetts, including Aldo Altobelli, Henry Campanini, Harold Passerini, Ken Mattoon and Gene Grazia, who was a member of the 1960 USA Olympic Gold Medal team.

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In 1967, local friends of Bessone established the Bessone Awards, which started with a single award but has grown with assistance from the Exposition Area Alumni Scholarship Fund, the Dante Club and a growing list of business and individual sponsors. Awards presented by the committee recognize several of Bessone’s players as well as the region’s hockey legends, including Eddie Shore, Bruce Landon, Joe Buchholz, Rob Murray, Billy Ryan and Kasey Bellamy.

Other winners for the 2023-24 season

Senior forwards Jake Jarrell of the Pope Francis and Owen Hall of West Springfield will receive Amo Bessone Awards, presented to this season’s overall most valuable players.

Longmeadow senior forward Brendan McGreer will receive the Rob Murray Award, which recognizes a player with a high level of leadership, physical play and dedication.

Brayden Bishop, a senior forward at Taconic, will receive the Kevin J. Major Award, which recognizes the most valuable player in the Fay/Wright Divisions.

Junior goalie Evan Mastroianni of Westfield will receive the Bruce Landon Award for goaltending excellence this year, while senior forward Jake Petrin of Pope Francis and junior forward Jake Jurek of Greenfield will receive Gene Grazia Awards, recognizing their outstanding offensive play.

Agawam senior defenseman David Newsome will receive the Harold Passerini Award for outstanding athletic, academic and community achievement.

Recipients of this year’s Aldo Altobelli Rookie of the Year Awards are Brayden Bousquet of East Longmeadow, Evan Dias of Ludlow, Shawn Baumann of Greenfield, and Milana Shuman of the Longmeadow girls’ team.

Recipient of this year’s Matthew J. Ryan Award for outstanding contributions to high school hockey is Carl Ericksberg, long-time coordinator of gameday activities at the Olympia Ice Center and western Mass. high school hockey scheduler.