ALL West hands out year-end awards

by Gary Ahuja

Tyler Kirkby won a pair of awards, while Brandon Humphrey took home some hardware for a third consecutive season.

The pair were among the winners as the Arena Lacrosse League West Division announced their year-end award recipients on March 28.

Kirkby won both the Most Valuable Player and Top Offensive Player awards, while Humphrey was the Most Outstanding Goaltender. Aidan Baker was the Top Defensive Player while the Sea Spray won the Coaching Staff of the Year.

Tyler Kirkby (Sea Spray): Most Valuable Player and Top Offensive Player

Following a record-setting season with the Sea Spray, Kirkby set new Arena Lacrosse League records for both assists (98) and points (116). His season was so dominant that based on his assists alone, Kirkby would have still won the ALL West scoring title, as his nearest competitor finished with 80 points.

Kirkby missed one game this season, but when he did play, he factored in on nearly 64 percent of his team’s goals.

In his third year in the league, Kirkby has finished first or second every season, leading the ALL West with 49 assists in 2022 while last year saw him finish second with 42 helpers (he finished four assists behind the leader despite playing five fewer games). And while Kirkby’s goal-scoring has remained consistent (19, 10 and 18 goals, respectively) the 2024 campaign saw him shatter the previous league assist record of 66, while setting the new points record in the process with 116. The previous record was 107.

“It’s his vision. Tyler just sees the game so well and he hopes up so much for his teammates with his passing,” explained coach Ian Paterson. “Our guys know if they get open, he will find them.”

Brandon Humphrey (Black Fish): Most Outstanding Goaltender 

Another season and another Most Outstanding Goaltender award for Humphrey.

Humphrey led the ALL West with 401 saves (88 ahead of the next closest goalie) and was also tops with six victories while finishing second in both goals against average (12.21) and save percentage (.765). He also played the most of any goalie (609:13, which was seven more periods than the next closest goaltender).

Humphrey was also adept at springing his team’s transition game, finishing with a dozen assists. For his ALL career, Humphrey has a 12.03 GAA and .774 save percentage with 24 assists in 34 games. And in the post-season, those numbers drop to a 9.67 GAA and an .830 save percentage.

“I am shocked he is not getting a chance in the NLL; I think he is that good,” said Black Fish coach Rod Jensen. “He’s got a good calm demeanor and a great attitude. Brandon is the real deal.”

Aidan Baker (Grizzlies): Top Defensive Player

This past season saw Baker fill a variety of roles for the Grizzlies, executing on the offensive end when the need arose, or playing a defensive/transition role.

“Speed and body positioning, combined with his ability to read the play,” said Grizzlies coach Justin Doucette when asked what makes Baker such a good defender. “And his lacrosse IQ is second to none.”

“He gets his success by always putting in the work – he doesn’t take any shifts off, and the ball tends to bounce his way because he gets to the tough places and he earns those opportunities.”

Baker managed 14 goals and 33 points in 11 games this past season.

Sea Spray: Top Coaching Staff

An all-new staff behind the Sea Spray bench, Ian Paterson along with assistants Darren McEwen, Josh Wahl, Dave Kidd and Derek Milani were recognized as the Top Coaching Staff.

The Sea Spray went 8-7 in the regular season and were the top defensive team in the ALL West, allowing 13 goals per game, nearly a full goal less than the three other teams.