Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today Aliaksei Protas, forward of the Prince Albert Raiders, has been named the WHL Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year and nominee for the Brad Hornung Trophy (WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year) presented by Real Canadian Superstore.
The Washington Capitals prospect enjoyed a strong second season in the WHL with the Raiders. Powering his team to their second-straight East Division title, Protas ranked ninth in league scoring with 80 points (31G-49A) while incurring just eight minutes in penalties, the fewest of the top-50 scorers from the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season.
A 6-foot-6, 210-pound product of Vitebsk, Belarus, the 19-year-old Protas posted career-best totals in goals, assists, and points. As part of his goal total, Protas scored nine power-play goals, two short-handed goals, and seven game-winning goals. During the season, Protas recorded 21 points (8G-13A) on a 12-game point streak.
Protas was selected 26th overall by the Raiders at the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft and won a WHL Championship in 2019 with the Raiders. Protas has appeared in 119 WHL regular season games, recording 120 points (42G-78A) and has accrued just 12 penalty minutes during that span. He has also appeared in 23 WHL playoff games, recording 22 points (12G-10A) and incurring six penalty minutes.
Last week, Protas was named to the WHL’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team. The Capitals chose Protas in the third round, 91st overall, of the 2019 NHL Draft.
WHL Eastern and Western Conference Most Sportsmanlike Players of the Year are voted upon annually by WHL General Managers and Head Coaches. The winner of the Brad Hornung Trophy for WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year will be announced on Thursday, May 14.
A rising star for the Regina Pats, Hornung’s career was cut short after the forward was paralyzed from the waist down following a hit in a game on March 1, 1987.
Since then, Hornung’s courageous attitude and inspirational message of perseverance has kept his connection with the game of hockey strong. A former amateur scout for the Chicago Blackhawks, Hornung has become a staple in hockey rinks throughout Saskatchewan. His No. 8 jersey has been retired by the Pats.
Noted for his talent, desire and sportsmanlike attitude, the Brad Hornung Trophy for Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year is awarded annually to the player that combines those same attributes.
Winners of the Brad Hornung Trophy / WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year Award (since 2000):
2018-19: Justin Almeida, Moose Jaw Warriors
2017-18: Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos
2016-17: Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos
2015-16: Tyler Soy, Victoria Royals
2014-15: Rourke Chartier, Kelowna Rockets
2013-14: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay ICE
2012-13: Dylan Wruck, Edmonton Oil Kings
2011-12: Mark Stone, Brandon Wheat Kings
2010-11: Tyler Johnson, Spokane Chiefs
2009-10: Jason Bast, Moose Jaw Warriors
2008-09: Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers
2007-08: Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers
2006-07: Aaron Gagnon, Seattle Thunderbirds
2005-06: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2004-05: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2003-04: Nigel Dawes, Kootenay ICE
2002-03: Boyd Gordon, Red Deer Rebels
2001-02: Ian White Swift Current Broncos
2000-01: Matt Kinch, Calgary Hitmen
1999-00: Trent Hunter, Prince George Cougars
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 350 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.