The Colorado Mammoth awarded Steve “Deep” Fryer as the 2019 Inspirational Player of the Year with the Jamie Hanford Award.
For a second season, Fryer served as a backup goalie to Dillon Ward, playing a total of 119:52 minutes in the 2018-19 regular season and making 78 saves on 91 shots.
The 29-year-old native of Brampton, Ontario got his second NLL start on March 23, 2019 at Pepsi Center against the Vancouver Warriors. It was the second game between the Mammoth and Warriors within 24 hours. Colorado had won the first game in Vancouver. Despite the grueling nature of back-to-back game travel, and though Vancouver came to The Loud House with a point to prove, Fryer held the Warriors to a season-low four goals, making 49 saves on 53 shots, in the Mammoth’s ten-point victory.
It was plain to see – and hear – that the 12,826 fans who attended that game were inspired by Fryer’s performance in net against the Warriors. The crowd was so revved up throughout the game that you could barely hear yourself think. But those 60 minutes weren’t why Fryer received an award. All the minutes when there wasn’t a crowd in sight and when the only noise in the team’s practice facility came from the team, coaches and trainers were what lifted Fryer to Jamie Hanford status. He was often the first player to take the turf or the last player to leave, standing in net to take shot after shot from a young Mammoth offense before and after practice. The journeyman workhorse would tell you he was just doing his job, and he was, but doing his job well for the sake of his teammates was the most inspirational thing he could have done all season.
“There's no better team guy than Deep,” said Mammoth play-by-play analyst Teddy Jenner. “He's everyone's best friend and critic; keeping the guys light and loose but, at the same time, pushing everyone to be better. Whenever he was called in to duty, he rose to the occasion and the players rallied off his fiery passion.”