Five WHL Alumni earn Canada West major awards

A total of five WHL Alumni have earned Canada West major awards for their efforts during the 2022-23 Men’s Hockey season.

Former Tri-City Americans and Edmonton Oil Kings forward Riley Sawchuk (Mount Royal University) is the Canada West Player of the Year.

University of Saskatchewan blueliner Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat Tigers, Regina Pats) earned Top Defenceman honours, while University of Calgary netminder Carl Tetachuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors) was named the Conference’s Top Goaltender.

Winnipeg ICE alumnus Jakin Smallwood is the 2022-23 Canada West Rookie of the Year, while his University of Alberta teammate Matt Fonteyne (Everett Silvertips) captured the Sportsmanship and Ability Award.

Sawchuk, who earlier this week signed a professional contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, led Canada West in scoring with 49 points (20G-29A) during the 2022-23 season. The second-year Business student, who hails from Prince Albert, Sask., was Canada West’s Rookie of the Year in 2022.

Hobbs, from Regina, Sask., led all Huskies skaters, and all Canada West blueliners with 32 points in 2022-23. The fourth-year Education student enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan following four WHL seasons and three AHL campaigns with the Hershey Bears.

Tetachuk, in his first year as an Arts student at the University of Calgary, finished the 2022-23 Canada West regular season with a 17-2-0 record, to go along with a 2.27 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts. The product of Lethbridge, Alta. joined the Dinos after graduating from the WHL in 2022 as a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Smallwood, from Leduc, Alta., is, like Tetachuk, a 2022 WHL Graduate. The first-year Native Studies student finished second among Canada West rookie scorers in 2022-23 with 16 goals and 35 points, a total that stood as second-best among Golden Bears skaters.

Fonteyne, a career Everett Silvertip in the WHL, is in his third year at the University of Alberta. The product of Wetaskiwin, Alta. finished third among Golden Bears scoring leaders with 32 points (12G-20A), while accumulating only four minutes in penalties over the course of the 28-game regular season.

Sawchuk, Tetachuk, Smallwood and Fonteyne are among the nearly 350 WHL Alumni taking advantage of the WHL Scholarship during the 2022-23 academic year.

WHL Clubs have invested over $2 million to deliver WHL Scholarships this season, with nearly 150 going to student athletes attending Canada West institutions and competing at the U SPORTS level in the Canada West men’s hockey league. In many cases, these student athletes have combined their WHL Scholarship with additional financial assistance from Canada West universities to receive the Western Canada Premier Hockey Scholarship.

The Canada West semi-finals are set for this weekend. The top-ranked University of Calgary Dinos host the University of Saskatchewan Huskies beginning Thursday, while in Edmonton, the University of Alberta Golden Bears begin a best-of-three series against the UBC Thunderbirds starting Friday evening.

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