“It’s something special.”
That was the reaction of Fife Flyers forward Ryan Dingle after being presented with the highly respected Fife Free Press Mirror of Merit award.
The annual award - which has run since the 1950s - is given to the Flyers player who defined a season, and Dingle has certainly stamped his name all over the 2015-16 campaign.
Not only did the 31-year-old from Colorado tally highest in the scoring system run by the FFP, pipping runner-up David Brown, he also finished as the team’s top points scorer with 22 goals and 35 assists.
Dingle now joins some famous names from the past to have their name engraved on the iconic trophy - club legends such as Jimmy Spence, Vincent Lukac, Russell Monteith and Mark Morrison.
“It’s a list that’s up on the wall in our locker room that guys take a look at, and maybe get a chuckle at the funny names,” Dingle said.
“It’s cool to be a part of that group and maybe in 10 to 20 years guys will be laughing at my name.
“It’s something that is a part of this organisation’s history and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
With points awarded by the FFP after every regular season match, from the first weekend to the last, the Mirror of Merit is regarded as the most genuine marker for consistency.
“Something I try to pride myself in is bringing intensity and competitiveness night in, night out,” Dingle said.
“You’re not always going to score goals or block shots, but one thing you can do is bring your work-rate.
“That’s a decision I’ve made, and one that has carried me into my 30s and still being able to play professionally.
“It’s cool to be rewarded and honoured through an organisation that prides itself on hard-nosed gritty hockey.”
While Dingle has scored some crucial goals for Flyers, his ability to create chances for others has been equally important.
“The past four years I’ve been more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, the finisher rather than the passer,” he said.
“But every season you have to find your role, and this year mines has been more of a disher and set-up man.
“Guys are putting the puck in the net and playing really well around me.”
After playing his part in the quarter-final win over Braehead Clan, Dingle is confident over Flyers prospects ahead of the EIHL play-off finals in Nottingham this weekend.
“I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for anyone right now,” he said.
“We’re really starting to find our stride and peaking at the right time.
“You dream about winnng the play-offs and here we are with a chance to do it.
“We’re potentailly six periods away from bringing some silverware to Fife.”
Flyers Supporters Club held its end of season awards at The Bay Hotel last Wednesday.
Award winners: British Player of the Year - Stephen Gunn; Forward of the Year - Ryan Dingle; Defencemen of the Year - Matt Delahey; Player of the Year - David Brown; Unsung Hero of the Year - Danny Stewart; Goal of the Season - Ryan Dingle vs Edinburgh (7/11/15); Top Points Scorer - Ryan Dingle (57pts); Players’ Player of the Year - Matt Delahey.