The Western Hockey League held its annual WHL Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, May 1st, in Calgary, AB, honoring the top performances from the 2012-13 WHL regular season.
Here are the 2012-13 WHL Award Winners:
WHL Player of the Year – Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Adam Lowry – Swift Current Broncos
Adam Lowry enjoyed an outstanding season for the Swift Current Broncos, appearing in all 72 games while scoring a team-leading 45 goals and 43 assists for 88 points to go with a +18 rating and 102 penalty minutes. Lowry’s considerable contributions to the Broncos helped the Club make the WHL playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. The Calgary, AB, product finished sixth among all WHL players in goals and finished 12th in WHL scoring with 88 points. In addition, Lowry finished tied for eighth among all WHL players with 14 power play goals and tied for second with six shorthanded goals. His eight game-winning goals also tied him for second among WHL players in that category. The Winnipeg Jets prospect displayed remarkable consistency throughout the 2012-13 WHL season, going more than two games without recording a point only three times all season while enjoying a season-best 21-game point streak and an eight-game goal streak. His efforts saw him named the Husky WHL Player of the Month for December. Lowry’s importance to the Broncos during the 2012-13 season cannot be understated as he had a hand in nearly 48% of his team’s entire offensive output.
RUNNER UP: Justin Feser – Tri-City Americans
WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
CO-WINNERS: Brendan Leipsic & Nicholas Petan – Portland Winterhawks
For the first time since the 1987-88 season, two players finished tied for the WHL scoring title with linemates Brendan Leipsic and Nicholas Petan of the Portland Winterhawks each finishing the season with 120 points. Leipsic, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, MB, posted 49 goals and 71 assists for 120 points in just 68 games for the Winterhawks this season. His 49 goals led the WHL in that category. Petan, a 17-year-old from Delta, B.C., tallied 46 goals and a WHL-leading 74 assists for the Winterhawks in his second season in the WHL. Eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, Petan tied for second in the WHL with 18 power play goals while also adding seven game-winning goals. Leipsic and Petan were two of three Winterhawks to finish as the top three scorers in the WHL. Their linemate, St. Louis Blues prospect Ty Rattie, ranks third in WHL scoring with 110 points. It’s been 25 years since the WHL has seen a tie for the League scoring title, and only the second time in League history. Theoren Fleury of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos shared the WHL scoring title in 1987-88 with 160 points apiece.
WHL Rookie of the Year – Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Seth Jones – Portland Winterhawks
A lot was expected from the Plano, TX, product in his first season in the WHL, considering he has been at the top of scouting lists for the last couple of years. Jones more than delivered on those expectations, posting 14 goals and 42 assists for 56 points in 61 games for the Winterhawks, helping the team to their most successful regular-season campaign in franchise history. The 6’4”, 206-lb rearguard led all rookie defencemen and ranked fourth among all WHL blue liners in points and posted an outstanding +46 rating to rank seventh among all WHL players in that category. Having also led Team USA to Gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship, Jones established himself as a dominant player at both ends of the rink in his first WHL season. Jones was originally drafted by the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, but was acquired by the Winterhawks last May.
RUNNER UP: Leon Draisaitl – Prince Albert Raiders
WHL Goaltender of the Year – Del Wilson Trophy
WINNER: Patrik Bartosak – Red Deer Rebels
Bartosak was a heroic performer for the Red Deer Rebels during the 2012-13 regular season, helping the Rebels to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference after missing the playoff last year. The 19-year-old from Koprivnice, CZE, appeared in 55 games this season, posting a 33-14-5 record with a 2.26 goals-against average and a.935 save percentage to help the Rebels to the WHL’s sixth-best defensive record. Bartosak ranked fourth among all WHL players in GAA and had the best save percentage of any netminder to appear in over 30 games. In addition to his five shutouts, Bartosak boasted a perfect 8-0 record in shootouts, allowing only two goals on 28 opposition shootout attempts. Bartosak, who is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, was named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending November 25th.
RUNNER UP: Mac Carruth – Portland Winterhawks
WHL Defenseman of the Year – Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Brenden Kichton – Spokane Chiefs
Brenden Kichton of the Spokane Chiefs is the Western Conference finalist for the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy for the second straight year. The 20-year-old from Spruce Grove, AB, enjoyed another dominant season in Spokane, leading the Chiefs and leading all WHL defencemen in scoring with 85 points, including 22 goals. Kichton, the only defenceman to lead his team in scoring, ranked first among all WHL blue liners and tied for fifth among all WHL players with 63 assists, and had 19 more points than the second-highest scoring rearguard in the League. In addition, Kichton posted a solid +39 rating this season, leading the Chiefs in that department. The 6’0”, 195-lb rearguard and New York Islanders prospect closes out his WHL career with 67 goals and a whopping 268 points in 333 career regular-season games.
RUNNER UP: Morgan Rielly – Moose Jaw Warriors
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year – Brad Hornung Trophy
WINNER: Dylan Wruck – Edmonton Oil Kings
In his fourth and final season in the WHL, Wruck was again a force for the Oil Kings as they captured their second straight Central Division and Eastern Conference regular-season titles. The 20-year-old from Saskatoon, SK, finished second on the Oil Kings and tied for 15th among all WHL players in scoring with 85 points, including 63 assists, while drawing only 14 minutes in penalties all season. Wruck played in every situation, logging heavy minutes for the Oil Kings, but was whistled for just seven minor penalties all season. He played his final 30 games of the regular season without being penalized. The 5’9”, 175-lb forward has played 259 career regular-season games for Edmonton, scoring 87 goals and 256 points while picking up just 89 penalty minutes.
RUNNER UP: Zach Franko – Kelowna Rockets
WHL Scholastic Player of the Year – Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Josh Morrissey – Prince Albert Raiders
17-year-old Josh Morrissey has already established himself as an elite-level player in the WHL and top prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft. Yet, Morrissey has been equally impressive in the classroom. The product of Calgary, AB, has excelled in his Grade 12 year at Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert, having completed five challenging 30-level classes and maintaining a 92.4% average while nearing completion on a sixth 30-level class. Morrissey’s maturity and decision-making abilities make him an exemplary leader and role model for fellow students and team mates alike.
RUNNER UP: Rourke Chartier – Kelowna Rockets
WHL Humanitarian of the Year – Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Cody Sylvester – Calgary Hitmen
Calgary Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester was not only a leader on the ice, he was also a team ambassador in the community and devoted a large amount of his time and energy to giving back to the City of Calgary. The product of Vernon, B.C., regularly participated in community events and initiatives, and was always willing to donate his time and effort. Sylvester developed the highly successful ‘Chance to Play’ program that helped raise funds to support local minor hockey and give an opportunity to participate to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to do so. The five-year member of the Hitmen designed unique T-shirts which were sold at Hitmen home games and other events which helped Sylvester in raising nearly $16,000 towards his ‘Chance to Play’ program. Sylvester’s dedication to giving back to the Calgary community and his enthusiasm to participate in the Hitmen’s many community and charitable endeavors makes him a deserving recipient of the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy.
RUNNER UP: Mitch Topping – Tri-City Americans
WHL Coach of the Year – Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Ryan McGill – Kootenay Ice
McGill made his return to the WHL this season to coach the team he guided to the 2002 Memorial Cup. Taking over a young Kootenay Club for the 2012-13 WHL season, McGill helped the Ice recover from a difficult first half as they finished the regular season with a 35-35-2-0 record for an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference while making the playoffs for a 15th consecutive season. With the Ice sitting at 10-24-1 and sitting in 21st place in the WHL standings at the 35-game mark, McGill found a way to rally the players to a higher level of play. From that point on, the Ice managed a complete turnaround and posted a 25-11-1 mark over the second half which was the fifth-best record of any WHL Club over that span. McGill brought the best out in many of his younger players, with 17-year-olds Sam Reinhart, Jaedon Descheneau and Luke Philp leading the team offensively. McGill’s win marks the fourth time in nine years this award has been presented to a Kootenay Ice head coach (Cory Clouston, 2004-05 & 2006-2007; Mark Holick, 2009-10).
RUNNER UP: Ryan Huska – Kelowna Rockets
WHL Executive of the Year – Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Bob Green – Edmonton Oil Kings
Bob Green of the Edmonton Oil Kings earns his second straight Eastern Conference nomination for WHL Executive of the Year, having won the award last year. Green’s Oil Kings managed a 51-15-2-4 record to capture the Central Division and Eastern Conference regular-season pennants for a second straight year while owning the WHL’s best defensive record. The 2012-13 edition of the Oil Kings boasted 15 players whom were selected by Green and his staff through the WHL Bantam Draft, including top scorers Michael St. Croix and Curtis Lazar, and the dominant goaltending tandem of Laurent Brossoit and Tristan Jarry, and another two players who were chosen in the CHL Import Draft. In addition, Green managed to add key players like Henrik Samuelsson, Cody Corbett and David Musil through astute trades and signings.
RUNNER UP: Bruce Hamilton – Kelowna Rockets
WHL Marketing/Business Award
WINNER: Kamloops Blazers
The Kamloops Blazers have shown significant improvement in their performance from a business and marketing perspective during the 2012-13 WHL regular season. With an entertaining and highly competitive team on the ice, the Blazers saw their overall attendance increase by nearly 16% this season, thanks to their first increase in season ticket sales since the 2003-04 campaign. In addition, sponsorship revenues grew for the Blazers’ Club while walk-up ticket sales increased by a whopping 34% from last year. The Blazers’ commitment to giving back to the Kamloops community saw them donate a total of 2,584 tickets to local community groups, while players performed 640 hours of community service during the season. The Blazers have also raised the bar in terms of fan experience at their games with innovative and entertaining game promotions and theme nights.
RUNNER UP: Saskatoon Blades
WHL Scholastic Team of the Year
WINNER: Portland Winterhawks
The value of education as well as the exploration of future career and academic possibilities are an integral part of the culture of the Portland Winterhawks, and the Winterhawks place a very high priority on education, both at the high school and post-secondary levels. A dominant team on the ice, the Winterhawks’ players have also excelled in the classroom over the course of the year. Ell of the Winterhawks’ college-aged players have graduated from high school and are all enrolled in, and passing, two university-level courses. Additionally, four high school-aged players are enrolled in a college course. Eight Winterhawks’ players graduated with Honors while another seven players are maintaining Honors-level marks. The Winterhawks offer strong support to their players in their scholastic endeavors, including mandatory study hall time on the road and at home, and provide monthly career exploration field trips for players to learn about various career options. The organization also maintains close contact with parents and billets of players, giving them regular feedback on the players’ progress.
WHL Top Official – Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Nathan Wieler
Nathan Wieler is in his 14th season as an official in the Western Hockey League. The 34-year-old from Regina, SK, has been refereeing in the WHL for the past seven years, having established himself as one of the League’s top officials. Wieler possesses all the skills that make him a top official, including strong composure, excellent judgment, and the confidence to control the situation. Wieler’s impressive officiating resume includes working the 2011 and 2012 WHL Championship series’, assignments at the international Under-18 and Under-17 levels and at the World Junior ‘A’ Championship. He has also worked three RBC Cups and a CIS National Championship. Wieler, a teacher, is married. His wife, Haley, is also an official, becoming the first female to officiate in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
WHL Regular Season Champion – Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Portland Winterhawks
The Winterhawks finished the season with a 57-12-1-2 record in 72 games for 117 points to earn the Scotty Munro Memorial trophy for the first time since the 1997-98 season and just the third time in their franchise history. Enjoying their best regular-season in franchise history, the Winterhawks set a new WHL record with 29 wins on the road and also won 28 games on home ice. The Hawks enjoyed a 14-game winning streak from December 8 – January 18, setting a new franchise record for consecutive wins. Portland’s dominant season saw them finish seven more wins and nine more points than their nearest competitor and clinch the U.S. Division title with a 25-point gap on the second-placed team in the division, the Spokane Chiefs. Boasting the WHL’s most potent offense, the Hawks also impressed with the League’s second-stingiest defence.