From an unknown commodity to an irreplaceable asset.

That’s probably the best way to summarize Josh Maser’s meteoric rise with the Prince George Cougars over the past three seasons.

After being acquired via trade from the Prince Albert Raiders during the 2015-16 season, the 19-year-old power-forward has gone from a bottom-six forward to a front-line presence with the Cougars.

So much so, he has posted back-to-back 20 goal seasons and even cracked the 30-goal plateau on Saturday during a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Kamloops Blazers.

The feeling became mutual from the organization’s point of view who named Maser the Team MVP during Sunday’s Annual Awards Banquet and Brunch where he was presented with the Dan Hamhuis Award.

While the honor is sure to be a major thrill for Maser, he was quick to point there were a few other teammates equally as deserving of the hardware.

“I played pretty well for the most part of the season but obviously there are a few guys that could have taken this award too like Taylor Gauthier who bailed us out a lot this season and he could have gotten easily himself.”

As for his scoring touch that he discovered over the past two seasons, the Houston, BC product attributes the success to his off-ice approach.

“I train pretty hard in the summer and I have the same goal every year to come back and make the playoffs and try to come back every year and be focused.”

The banquet also meant one last official goodbye for the team’s three graduating 20-year-old players in Josh Curtis, Mike McLean and Joel Lakusta.

Lakusta suited up in 233 regular season games for the Cats over his four season after being originally selected in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Saskatoon Blades.

His best season came in 2017-18 where collected a career-high 42 points (9 goals and 33 assists).

For him, the thing the blueliner will miss most is the comradery with his teammates.

“I think what I’ll remember the most is just the friendships with all the guys I have come so close with over the past four years so I am going to miss them, I am going to miss the city and miss playing hockey at the WHL level but I’m going to miss my friends the most.”

As for any life lessons Lakusta collected along the way, the one that stands out to him the most is taking an even-keel approach to things.

“You can’t take anything too seriously, you’ve got to take everything with a grain of salt and have as much fun as you can and when times are tough you just got to look at the positive side of things.”

Curtis on the other hand joined the Cougars part-way through the 2015-16 season from the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues.

Curtis also enjoyed a career-high in goals this year with 13 also wearing the captaincy in his final season of junior.

McLean was acquired by the Cougars in September from the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Here is a complete breakdown of the award winners:

  • BRETT CONNOLLY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Tyson Upper
  • JEFF ZORN AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Josh Curtis
  • CHRIS MASON AWARD FOR MOST 3-STARS SELECTIONS: Taylor Gauthier
  • DOROTHY JOHNSON MEMORIAL AWARD (VOTED BY THE FANS): Taylor Gauthier
  • FAN CLUB BURSUARY WINNER: Josh Curtis
  • SPIRIT OF THE NORTH HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Isaiah DiLaura
  • TROY BOURKE AWARD [OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR]: Vladislav Mikhalchuk
  • ERIC BREWER AWARD FOR BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER AWARD: Cole Moberg
  • MICHAEL FOGOLIN MEMORIAL AWARD (VOTED BY THE PLAYERS): Josh Curtis & Josh Maser
  • DAN HAMHUIS AWARD FOR TEAM MVP: Josh Maser