Local goalie scores impressive awards

Neil with his GTHL Award. Photo Navin Katyal.
Neil with his GTHL Award. Photo Navin Katyal.

Juggling athletics and academics can be challenging. Add in community service work, and the balancing act can be precarious!

But for Grade 10 student Neil Katyal, his tremendous ability to deliver in school, on the ice and especially off the ice, has resulted in being awarded the prestigious Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Roy Pejcinovski Memorial Goaltending Character Award for 2024.

The award is given to a GTHL goalie who demonstrates extraordinary community service and models the character traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Katyal has played hockey since he was 5 and as a goalie since the age of 8. Now 15, he plays for the U16AA/U17AA Ted Reeve Thunder.

Off the ice, Katyal has volunteered both after school and during summer break to assist young goalies with skating and skills instruction.

He has also worked with the Toronto Public Library Teen Council (Leaside Branch) on group projects aimed at benefiting both the library and the community. He took a leadership role in coordinating an art exhibit at the library and in organizing and running workshops for the community including a sewing club.

That’s not all. Neil has also shovelled snow for seniors in Leaside, volunteered with the North York Harvest Food Bank and participated in two 5 km walks to support spinal research at the Canadian Chiropractic College.

“Winning the Roy Pejcinovski Memorial Goaltending Character Award is not just about making saves on the ice; it’s about making a difference by giving back to my community off the ice,” said Neil. “I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive such recognition in tribute to Roy Pejcinovksi, a fellow goaltender, who tirelessly promoted respect and compassion for the game.”

The award will be presented at the annual GTHL Awards Gala at the Hockey Hall of Fame on June 6th.

About Susan Scandiffio 156 Articles
Susan Scandiffio was born in Scotland and raised in Toronto. While she holds a master’s degree in history, her main passion (besides her wonderful family) is sports. Susan can often be found at the A.C.C. or in a Leaside arena or playing field, scoping out stories for Leaside Life.