Three WHL players recognized among 2018 CHL Award winners
Regina, SK – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 10 national award winners for the 2017-18 season including Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Alex Barré-Boulet of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada who earned Sportsnet CHL Player of the Year honours.
Three Western Hockey League players were recognized as part of the CHL’s national awards, including Everett Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart (Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Year), Moose Jaw Warriors forward Jayden Halbgewachs (CCM CHL Top Scorer) and Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi (Bumper to Bumper CHL Sportman of the Year).
The awards were presented as part of the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities in Regina.
2017-18 CHL Award Winners:
Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award: Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts
Barrie Colts forward Andrei Svechnikov is listed number one in NHL Central Scouting’s Final North American Rankings for the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. The 18-year-old forward from Barnaul, Russia, registered 40 goals, 32 assists and 72 points in an injury-shortened 44-game rookie season. He becomes the first OHL player to win the award since first overall NHL Draft pick Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters did so in 2014-15. Finalists for the award include Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads who was listed third by NHL Central Scouting, and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs ranked 14th.
CCM Top Scorer Award: Jayden Halbgewachs, Moose Jaw Warriors
San Jose Sharks prospect Jayden Halbgewachs led the CHL with 70 goals and 129 points in 72 games, helping the Moose Jaw Warriors capture the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL regular season champions for the first time in franchise history. The 21-year-old product of Emerald Park, Sask. became the first WHL player to reach the 70-goal plateau since 1998-99 when Pavel Brendl did so with the Calgary Hitmen. The offensive outburst earned Halbgewachs a free agent contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. He follows Regina Pats forward Sam Steel as the second straight WHL player to earn the distinction. Finalists for the award were Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Alex Barré-Boulet of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada with 53 goals, 63 assists and 116 points in 65 games, and Ottawa Senators prospect Aaron Luchuk of the Barrie Colts with 50 goals, 65 assists and 115 points in 68 games.
Bumper to Bumper Sportsman of the Year Award: Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos
Florida Panthers prospect Aleksi Heponiemi of the Swift Current Broncos was one of the most proficient passers in the WHL during the 2017-18 season, recording a single-season franchise record 90 assists along with 28 goals and 118 points in only 57 games. Heponiemi recorded just 28 penalty minutes in the process to earn the Brad Hornung Trophy as WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year. A product of Tampere, Finland, Heponiemi represented Finland at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship before helping his Swift Current Broncos claim the Ed Chynoweth Cup as 2018 WHL Champions. Heponiemi becomes the first WHL player to claim the award since Kelowna’s Rourke Chartier did so in 2014-15. Finalists for the award were Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada forward Joel Teasdale.
TVA Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award: Garrett McFadden, Guelph Storm
Guelph Storm captain Garrett McFadden is the CHL’s Humanitarian of the Year after being named a finalist for the award last season, establishing himself as an exceptional ambassador for his team and the league both on and off the ice. The 20-year-old native of Kincardine, Ont. continued his tremendous work with ‘McFadden’s Movement’ in support of youth mental health awareness. The initiative took new heights in 2017-18 with the introduction of an Ambassadors Program along with fundraising efforts that totaled $20,000 to local mental health resources. The $20,000 raised by McFadden’s Movement fundraising programs and corporate partnership support more than triples his donation from 2016-17, and has been split between WES for Youth Online (a free youth online counseling service created in memory of McFadden’s family friend), and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo-Wellington Branch. On the ice, the fifth-year veteran recorded six goals, 38 assists and 44 points in 68 games. McFadden is the first OHL player to win the award since Saginaw’s Will Petschenig did so in 2015-16. Finalists for the award were New York Rangers prospect Ty Ronning of the Vancouver Giants and forward Vincent Tremblay-Lapalme of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.
CIBC Scholastic Player of the Year Award: Alexandre Alain, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Montreal Canadiens prospect Alexandre Alain excelled in Natural Sciences studies at Cégep St-Jérôme this past season while also serving as captain of the QMJHL regular season champion Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada. The 21-year-old native of Québec, Que. recorded 44 goals, 43 assists and 87 points in 65 games, earning an NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in his overage season. Alain is the first QMJHL player to earn the award since Shawinigan’s Alexis D’Aoust in 2015-16. Finalists for the award included 2018 NHL Draft prospects Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs and Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Janes Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year Award: Drew Bannister, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Drew Bannister led the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to an all-time franchise best record of 55-7-3-3, topping the CHL Top-10 Rankings throughout much of the 2017-18 season. The 44-year-old from Belleville, Ont. helped the Greyhounds earn a Western Conference crown, capturing their fifth Hamilton Spectator Trophy as OHL regular season champions. They set a franchise record 23-game winning-streak from October 28 to December 30 which ranks third best in OHL history, and generated a run of 29 consecutive contests without a regulation loss. The Hounds also went on a 27-game home winning-streak from October 20 to March 14 which stands as the second-longest in OHL history following the club’s undefeated season at home in 1984-85. The 116 points and .853 winning-percentage are both tied for second best all-time under the 68-game schedule. Bannister is the OHL’s second straight recipient of the award following Owen Sound’s Ryan McGill in 2017. Finalists for the award were Manny Viveiros of the Swift Current Broncos and Joel Bouchard of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
Wawanesa Rookie of the Year Award: Alexis Lafrenière, Rimouski Océanic
2020 NHL Draft prospect Alexis Lafrenière of the Rimouski Océanic turned in a dominant 16-year-old season, leading CHL underage rookies with 80 points including 42 goals and 38 assists in 60 games. The product of St-Eustache, Que. was the QMJHL’s first overall pick in 2017 and didn’t disappoint, becoming the first Quebec-born CHL Rookie of the Year since Rimouski star Vincent Lecavalier back in 1997. He follows in the footsteps of another prominent Océanic forward in 2003-04 recipient Sidney Crosby. Finalists for the award were Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts and Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Vaughn Goaltender of the Year Award: Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips
Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips becomes the first two-time recipient of the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Year Award after winning 31 of his 41 appearances, logging a 1.60 goals-against average and .947 save percentage with seven shutouts. The Sherwood Park, Alta. product earned his third consecutive Del Wilson Trophy as WHL Goaltender of the Year and represented Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, backstopping his nation to a gold medal before taking his Everett Silvertips to Game 6 of the 2018 WHL Championship. Hart also tied a CHL record, recording his 26th career shutout this past season. Finalists for the award were Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies netminder Samuel Harvey.
Superstore Defenceman of the Year Award: Nicolas Hague, Mississauga Steelheads
Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads earns Superstore CHL Defenceman of the Year honours after setting an all-time franchise record for goals by a defenceman with 35, adding 43 assists for 78 points in 67 games. His 35 tallies were the most by an OHL defenceman since 1998 as he finished the season with 26 multi-point performances. Hague becomes the first OHL recipient of the award since Sault Ste. Marie’s Anthony DeAngelo claimed the honour in 2014-15. Finalists for the award were Los Angeles Kings prospect Kale Clague of the Moose Jaw Warriors and fifth-year veteran Olivier Galipeau of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Sportsnet Player of the Year Award: Alex Barré-Boulet, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Alex Barré-Boulet led the QMJHL with 53 goals and 63 assists for 116 points in 65 games. The recently turned 21-year-old native of Montmagny, Que. wrapped up his four-year career with 337 points (140-197–337) in 263 games, earning an NHL contract in his overage season. Barré-Boulet led the Armada to a QMJHL regular season title before steering them to Game 6 of the President Cup Final. He is the first Armada player to win the award and the QMJHL’s first recipient since Val-d’Or’s Anthony Mantha claimed the honours in 2013-14. Finalists for the award were Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips and St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting.