AUBURN HILLS — There were nights when Emmett Wagner just couldn’t score, games when, for whatever reason, the puck wouldn’t bounce his way.
“Maybe two or three of them,” Auburn Hills Avondale hockey coach Scott Dockett said with a laugh. “It wasn’t very often he was held off the score sheet.”
After a incredible individual season of tallying points and helping guide the Yellow Jackets to 10 more wins than a year ago, Wagner was rewarded for his offensive skills when coaches in the Oakland Activities Association White Division named him Most Valuable Player.
“I was shocked, honestly,” Wagner said. “I knew I had a good year, but I had know idea I would be named MVP.”
Dockett, who called Wagner a “very quiet and modest player,” was hardly surprised by the recognition his senior forward received.
“The coaches felt he was the guy this year, and the production he had certainly showed how he deserved it,” Dockett said. “He was solid all year for us.”
In 11 White Division games, Wagner finished with 18 goals and 12 assists as Avondale placed fourth with a 7-5-0 mark just one year after finishing sixth with just three wins.
In 25 total games, Wagner scored 52 goals and handed out 33 assists while helping Avondale to 18 wins.
The team won eight all of last season.
“The way he came out and played, it really instilled some confidence in our team,” said Docket, who was in his first year with the program. “He really came into his own. He had a knack for the net. He had a knack to score.”
Dockett and Wagner both credited the team and individual success to the addition of Nick Poplars, a former travel player who joined the team, played on the top line and ended up scoring 72 points by the time the season was out.
“That really solidified things on that line with Emmett,” Dockett said.
“Nick joining the team this year was a huge help for us,” Wagner said. “He added size, strength and a lot of skill. Without him, I don’t think our team would have had the season that we did.”
Still, for a guy that averaged 3.40 points per game, he deserved plenty of credit.
“The coach and my family were a huge help,” Wagner said. “They were constantly telling me what I could do better and how I could improve my game, on ice and off ice.”
His plans are still in the air, deciding between playing juniors or college club hockey.
One thing, as Wagner explained, is certain: “I’d love to keep playing.”
And if he’s playing, he’ll likely be scoring.