Van Aubel and Denayer honoured at Belgian awards night

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

KHC Dragons Florent van Aubel was awarded the Golden Stick last weekend as the best player in Belgium for the 2017/18 season.

It came as something of a surprise to the man known as “the magician” as he anticipated the award would go to Arthur van Doren – his former club-mate now at Bloemendaal – for a fourth time.

"Seriously, I did not think I could leave with a prize tonight,” he told the Hockey Belgium website. “The other four named had a fantastic season. Last year, I was still evolving with my great friend Arthur Van Doren, who is still the best player in the world. And for me, it was pretty clear that he was going to win again. That's why it's a real surprise."

"Obviously I'm proud of the award. Even though it is a team sport, an individual prize is something quite special. It's certainly my final four playoff games that made the difference.

“But let it be clear that I would immediately return my Golden Stick to be crowned champion again with Dragons or win the gold medal at the World Cup."

Dragons’ Felix Denayer was voted by the public as men’s player of the year.

"It's always a pleasure to win this type of award. I always try to give my maximum on and off the pitch. I love the game and it remains a real passion.

“There are more and more players who excel each season and it becomes more and more difficult to highlight. But we always have a better chance of getting noticed when the team foes well.

“I must thank the Dragons. It is no coincidence that Florent van Aubel has established himself and that Arthur Van Doren was also nominated. But behind, there is also the whole group of Dragons. We had a great season and we are reaping the benefits of that."

Other winners on the night included Alex Gerniers for the women’s main award. Antwerp’s Michelle Struijk won the women’s Golden Hope award while Waterloo Ducks Maxime van Oost won the men’s version.