Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today Regina Pats forward Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C.) has won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL Rookie of the Year presented by Wawanesa Insurance.
Bedard burst onto the scene after being selected first overall by the Pats in the 2020 WHL Draft, registering two goals in his WHL debut. In 15 games with Regina, the 15-year-old recorded 28 points (12G-16A) before joining Team Canada’s gold medal-winning entry at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Texas.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward led all WHL rookies in goals (12), points (28) and power-play assists (seven), finishing tied among first-year players in assists (16) and game-winning goals (two). Bedard also shared the Pats team lead in points.
Bedard amassed a total of 10 multi-point efforts in his 15 games played with Regina during the 2020-21 WHL season, including a pair of four-point games March 29 and April 6, 2021.
The product of North Vancouver, B.C. is the first WHL player to have been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft.
Bedard is the sixth member of the Regina Pats franchise to win the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL Rookie of the Year and first since Jeff Friesen, who was awarded the trophy during the 1992-93 WHL season. He joins Friesen, Dale Derkatch (1981-82), Dave Michayluk (1980-81), Dennis Sobchuk (1971-72) and Ron Garwasiuk (1966-67) as Pats players to have been named WHL Rookie of the Year.
The Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy is presented annually to the player whose performance in their first season is deemed to be the most outstanding among all rookies.
A former owner of the Saskatoon Blades, Jim Piggott played a direct role in the formation of the Western Canadian Hockey League, now known as the WHL. Along with Del Wilson, Piggott played a critical role in the unification of all three Major Junior leagues across Canada into what is now known as the Canadian Hockey League.
Winners of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy / WHL Rookie of the Year (since 2001)
2020-21 – Connor Bedard, Regina Pats
2019-20 – Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings
2018-19 – Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw Warriors
2017-18 – Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes
2016-17 – Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos
2015-16 – Matthew Phillips, Victoria Royals
2014-15 – Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings
2013-14 – Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets
2012-13 – Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks
2011-12 – Sam Reinhart, Kootenay ICE
2010-11 – Mathew Dumba, Red Deer Rebels
2009-10 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels
2008-09 – Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars *
2007-08 – Brayden Schenn, Brandon Wheat Kings
2006-07 – Kyle Beach, Everett Silvertips
2005-06 – Peter Mueller, Everett Silvertips
2004-05 – Tyler Plante, Brandon Wheat Kings
2003-04 – Gilbert Brule, Vancouver Giants
2002-03 – Matt Ellison, Red Deer Rebels *
2001-02 – Braydon Coburn, Portland Winter Hawks
2000-01 – Scottie Upshall, Kamloops Blazers *
* Denotes CHL Rookie of the Year
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.