The SHL selected Michigan Gray Wolves C Hunter Bailes as its 2016 SHL Finals MVP. Bailes was the primary offensive engine for the Wolves all season, leading the team with 36 goals and 59 points. He kept up that reputation in the Finals, leading all scorers with 5 goals. In the deciding Game 6, Bailes scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner in the final minute.
“Hunter’s a hockey player’s hockey player,” said Wolves coach Ron Wright. “He’s the kind of guy who’s not flashy or showy, but he knows how to get the job done. He’s more at home on the ice than on the red carpet, and he lives for the game. He’s a real professional and a true leader, and everyone on the team looks up to him.”
Bailes’ game-winner propelled him to the narrowest of MVP wins over goaltender Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist. Lundquist opened the Finals with back-to-back shutouts, the first goalie in SHL history to do so, and finished the Finals with a 1.49 GAA and a .946 save percentage. “Honestly, I think they should have given it to Dirk,” said Bailes. “He’s the backbone of everything we do.”
As part of the MVP honor, Bailes received a 25-foot Chirs Craft powerboat. “This is cool!” exclaimed Bailes. “I’m going to take this back home and cruise around Lake Simcoe all summer and land some stripers.”