Red Deer, Alta. – The Western Hockey League will host its annual WHL Awards ceremony today at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel in Red Deer, Alta., to honour the top performances from the WHL’s 2017-18 season.
The 2018 WHL Awards ceremony will be streamed live at WHL.ca beginning at 12:15 p.m. MT.
In addition to those listed below, the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year and WHL Official of the Year will be recognized Wednesday.
2017-18 WHL Awards Nominees
WHL Rookie of the Year – Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Dylan Cozens – Lethbridge Hurricanes
After being selected in the first round (19th overall) by the Hurricanes at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Cozens first turned heads during the 2017 WHL Playoffs as he appeared in 12 contests, amassing eight points (3G-5A). In his first season of full-time eligibility, the product of Whitehorse, Yukon, picked up where he left off, collecting 53 points (22G-31A) in 57 games during the 2017-18 regular season. His 53 points were good enough to finish second in the WHL’s regular season rookie scoring race. Cozens is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Western Conference: Bowen Byram – Vancouver Giants
Selected in the first round (third overall) by the Giants at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Byram emerged as a reliable defenceman at the young age of 16. Dressing in 60 games during the 2017-18 WHL regular season, the product of Cranbrook, B.C., proved productive in all facets of the game, topped off with 27 points (6G-21A). That mark was good enough to rank him second in scoring among all WHL rookie defencemen. Byram is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
WHL Goaltender of the Year – Del Wilson Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Logan Flodell – Lethbridge Hurricanes
A product of Saskatoon, Sask., Flodell split the season between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos. He led the WHL in a number of major statistical categories during the 2017-18 regular season, including games played (61), saves (1,818) and wins (38). The recently-turned 21-year-old goaltender finished the campaign with a record of 38-18-4-0 to go alongside a 3.13 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and three shutouts. Flodell’s first 35-win season in the WHL saw him recognized as WHL Goaltender of the Week once, during the week of October 9-15.
Western Conference: Carter Hart – Everett Silvertips
Hart is a two-time defending winner of the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy, and was previously recognized as the CHL Goaltender of the Year in 2016. The product of Sherwood Park, Alta., put together another outstanding campaign, leading the WHL in a number of major statistical categories, including goals-against average (1.60), save percentage (.947) and shutouts (7). The 19-year-old goaltender finished with a record of 31-6-1-3 in 41 appearances during the 2017-18 WHL regular season. Selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round (48th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Hart was named WHL Goaltender of the Week on seven separate occasions, including four consecutive weeks from November 13 through December 10. Hart also helped backstop Canada to a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y.
WHL Defenceman of the Year – Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Kale Clague – Moose Jaw Warriors
In his fourth full WHL season, Clague split time between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Brandon Wheat Kings. In 54 regular season appearances, the product of Lloydminster, Alta., posted a career-high 71 points (11G-60A), good enough to finish in a tie for third in scoring among all WHL defencemen. Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (51st overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Clague helped Canada to a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Clague was originally selected by the Wheat Kings in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. In 195 career WHL games, Clague has 167 points (26G-141A) to his name.
Western Conference: Cal Foote – Kelowna Rockets
In his third full season in Kelowna and first as captain of the Rockets, Foote stepped up at both ends of the rink. The product of Engelwood, Colo., collected a career-high 70 points (19G-51A) in only 60 games to finish sixth in scoring among all WHL defencemen. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round (14th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Foote was a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning entry at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. In 202 career WHL games, Foote has 163 points (33G-130A) to his credit after being selected by the Rockets in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year – Brad Hornung Trophy
Eastern Conference: Aleksi Heponiemi – Swift Current Broncos
For the second consecutive season, a Broncos player is nominated for WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year after Tyler Steenbergen took home the honour in 2017. For Heponiemi, he was named WHL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and followed up with an outstanding 2017-18 WHL regular season. The product of Tampere, Finland, registered 118 points (28G-90A) and was only penalized for 28 minutes in 57 games. Heponiemi’s performance was good enough to earn him WHL Player of the Week honours for the week of November 6-12. Selected in the second round (40th overall) by the Florida Panthers at the 2017 NHL Draft, Heponiemi has collected 204 points (56G-148A) in 129 games with the Broncos. He originally came to Swift Current via the 2016 CHL Import Draft, chosen in the first round (10th overall).
Western Conference: Cody Glass – Portland Winterhawks
With a career-high 102 points (37G-65A) and only 26 penalty minutes in 64 games this season, Glass continued to define himself as one of the premier playmakers in the WHL. On two occasions, he was named WHL Player of the Week, the most recent for the week of February 26 to March 4 as the Winterhawks etched out a second-place finish in the WHL’s U.S. Division. His 102 points saw him finish in a tie for sixth in WHL scoring, while his 65 assists were good enough for fifth in the WHL. Selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Glass has registered 223 points (79G-144A) in 201 career WHL games. He was originally selected by the Winterhawks in the first round (19th overall) of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
WHL Scholastic Player of the Year – Daryl (Doc) K. Seaman Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Chase Wouters – Saskatoon Blades
In his second full season in the WHL, Wouters played in all 72 games, recording 51 points (18G-33A), setting career highs in goals, assists, and points. The 18-year-old forward has also scored top marks in the classroom, attaining honours student status throughout all three years of high school, maintaining an 89-per-cent average in Grade 10, a 90-per-cent average in Grade 11, and an 89-per-cent average in Grade 12.
An alternate captain for the Blades, Wouters excelled in core courses, posting a 94-per-cent grade in Math Foundations 20, a 92 per cent in Math Pre-Calc 30, a 90 per cent in Chemistry 30, an 87-per-cent in History 30: Canadian Studies, and an 83-per-cent in English Language Arts A30.
A product of Lloydminster, Alta., Wouters was selected by the Blades in the first round (19th overall) of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft and is ranked 92nd among North American skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft.
Western Conference: Ty Smith – Spokane Chiefs
Playing in his second full season with the Chiefs, Smith recorded 73 points (14G-59A) in 69 games, finishing second among all WHL defencemen in scoring during the 2017-18 WHL regular season. Making the move from Lloydminster, Alta. to Spokane, Wash. for the 2016-17 school year, Smith has maintained a 3.57 GPA during his studies south of the border. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defenceman scored top marks throughout his time in high school, posting a 98 per cent in Computer Applications B, a 95 per cent in Anatomy and Physiology A and a 91 per cent in Physics – Year 1A.
He also registered an 88 per cent in Pre-Calculus A and an 87 per cent in English 11A while also earning an 84 per cent in Bridge to College English 12A and 83 per cent in AP Statistics A.
A product of Lloydminster, Alta., Smith was selected by the Chiefs in the first round (first overall) of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
WHL Coach of the Year – Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Manny Viveiros – Swift Current Broncos
In his second season behind the bench for Swift Current, Viveiros guided the Broncos to an impressive record of 48-17-5-2, good enough to finish second in the WHL’s overall regular season standings. The 103 points serve as the second best total in Broncos’ franchise history, with only the 1988-89 Broncos registering more (111 points). Under the direction of Viveiros, the Broncos represented one of the top teams in the entire CHL this season, finishing fourth in the CHL Top 10 and maintain rank for the majority of the 2017-18 season.
Western Conference: Dennis Williams – Everett Silvertips
In his first year as a WHL head coach, Williams guided the Silvertips to the top record in the Western Conference, finishing 47-20-2-3 (99 points), which also served to earn a U.S. Division banner for the fifth time in franchise history. With Williams at the helm, the Silvertips finished the regular season as the seventh-ranked team in the CHL Top 10. Critical to the Club’s success was once again stingy defence and goaltending as the Silvertips only allowed 167 goals against – a WHL best this season.
WHL Executive of the Year – Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Alan Miller – Moose Jaw Warriors
In his sixth season as General Manager of the Warriors, Millar constructed a Club that went on to win the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL Regular Season Champions, finishing with a record of 52-15-2-3 (109 points). The 2017-18 campaign represented the first year the Warriors eclipsed the 50-win plateau and represented the best season in franchise history, surpassing the 2011-12 Warriors (45-19-6-2, 98 points). Millar executed a number of key transactions that aided the Warriors down the stretch, including the acquisition of WHL Defenceman of the Year nominee Kale Clague, forwards Ryan Peckford and Vince Loschiavo, as well as defenceman Brandon Schuldhaus, among others.
Western Conference: Garry Davidson – Everett Silvertips
In his sixth season as General Manager of the Silvertips, Davidson served as the architect for a Club that claimed its fifth U.S. Division banner in franchise history. In addition to the drafting and development of goaltender Carter Hart over the years, Davidson oversaw the acquisition of Washington Capitals prospect Garrett Pilon and Dallas Stars prospect Ondrej Vala – two key additions that bolstered an already strong roster ahead of the WHL Trade Deadline. Davidson also roped in key depth throughout the season, bringing in the likes of Ethan O’Rourke, Luke Ormsby, Spencer Gerth, Bronson Sharp and Jameson Murray.
WHL Humanitarian of the Year – Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Matt Bradley – Regina Pats
In addition to being one of the offensive leaders for the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup host Regina Pats, Bradley has gone above and beyond for those in his local Western Hockey League market and the league as a whole.
Acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers before the start of the 2018 WHL regular season, Bradley immediately set out to make a difference in his new hometown of Regina. He pledged $5 of his own money for every point he scored during October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When he raised $85 from his offensive production, he campaigned further and raised a total of $3,595 overall. This marked Bradley’s second year raising funds for cancer awareness after he raised $565 with the Tigers the season before.
Adjusting to a new community, Bradley took a lead role in the Pats’ outreach, stepped up with the Pats’ Canadian Mental Health Association night at the Brandt Centre. Bradley also set out to make a difference in the lives of children, visiting 15 schools to read to students and promote healthy lifestyles.
Healthy and active living is a core principal of life Bradley has also worked to promote by participating in the Ranch Ehlro Outdoor Hockey League, an initiative through the Ranch Ehlro Society, which provides inner-city youth and families access to a variety of recreational programs, including hockey.
Bradley’s contributions to his local community don’t stop at the city limits of Regina. When he happens to be home in Surrey, B.C., Bradley visits his local school where his mother serves as a Vice Principal and delivers the same message of healthy living and working to achieve one’s dreams.
Western Conference: Ty Ronning – Vancouver Giants
The on-ice contributions of Ty Ronning to the success of the Vancouver Giants has been measured in goals, assists, points, and wins, but when it comes to his contributions off the ice, Ronning’s contributions are measured in the number of smiling faces from young fans.
His desire to spread kindness and do good for others has forever etched the overage forward as a fan and community favourite with the Giants organization.
Ronning has volunteered his time at the Vancouver Giants Hockey School and the team’s Read to Succeed Initiative. Additionally, Ronning spent extra time on the ice at the team’s Family Day skate in an effort to leave a positive impact on his community. In classrooms regularly, Ronning took time out of his schedule to speak with students at Our Lady of Sorrows School and St. Helens Elementary School, discussing the importance of perseverance and strong work ethic.
Ronning’s positive contributions to the community can be exhibited in two cases. Earlier this season, he received a letter from a fan in Burnaby, B.C. Instead of simply writing back, Ronning personally delivered a Giants’ jacket to the young fan’s house.
The New York Rangers prospect also developed a friendship with another Giants fan. As the former high school classmates continued to reconnect, Ronning welcomed the fan as a guest at Giants games throughout the season. The efforts and generosity from Ronning has served to further engrain a love for hockey within this fan.
Ronning’s continued commitment to fans of all ages and his uplifting approach to the surrounding community has established a culture of positivity on and off the ice within the Giants’ organization.
WHL Player of the Year – Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference: Jayden Halbgewachs – Moose Jaw Warriors
After being passed over in two NHL Drafts, Halbgewachs exploded during the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season, earning the WHL’s Bob Clarke Trophy by leading the league in scoring 129 points (70G-59A). In the process, he became the league’s first 70-goal scorer since Pavel Brendl (73 goals, Calgary Hitmen – 1998-99). The outstanding offensive performance did not go unnoticed, as the San Jose Sharks signed the free agent product of Emerald Park, Sask., to a three-year, entry-level contract in December 2017. Halbgewachs also led the WHL in power-play goals (27) and game-winning goals (11), helping the Warriors claim a franchise first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL Regular Season Champions.
Western Conference: Carter Hart – Everett Silvertips
In a shortened regular season due to illness and a gold-medal performance for Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hart still managed to prove his worth as one of the top goaltenders in the entire CHL. A defending two-time winner of the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy and nominated once again in 2018, the product of Sherwood Park, Alta., stood on his head with a record of 31-6-1-3 alongside a WHL-leading 1.60 goals-against average, .947 save percentage and seven shutouts. Selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round (48th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Hart was named WHL Goaltender of the Week on seven separate occasions and backstopped his Silvertips to the top record in the Western Conference, as well as the second U.S. Division banner over his four-year tenure.
WHL Business Award
Eastern Conference: Edmonton Oil Kings
Having delivered another exciting season of new marketing initiatives and achievements in 2017-18, the Edmonton Oil Kings are the Eastern Conference Finalist for the WHL Marketing/Business Award.
Within the friendly and fresh confines of Rogers Place, the Oil Kings deliver a cutting-edge game presentation, elevating the experience for passionate and dedicated fans. Undoubtedly, this contributes to the Oil Kings’ standing as the WHL leader in nightly attendance for the second consecutive season.
Through a variety of community and charitable initiatives, the Oil Kings contributed more than $225,000 to the community of Edmonton and surrounding area, including the creation of two new scholarships for schools in Edmonton and surrounding area.
RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry served as an outstanding highlight within the Oil Kings promotional schedule in 2017-18. Garnering attention from Don Cherry and Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner, the Oil Kings also found themselves in the Sportsnet spotlight with Gene Principe.
The Oil Kings organization prides itself on the success of its annual Teddy Bear Toss game, which once again exceeded previous marks, collecting a Club record 14,122 plush toys an raising another $20,000 in December 2017.
Western Conference: Everett Silvertips
Enjoying extensive growth in all major business categories in 2017-18, the Everett Silvertips are the Western Conference Finalist for the WHL Marketing/Business Award.
As an innovator in game-night promotions, presentation and community involvement, the Silvertips have executed a number of successful campaigns during the 2017-18 season. Over the course of the season, the Silvertips have visited more than 30 schools, delivering messaging on anti-bullying, healthy lifestyles and education. The team has also spent time working with cancer patients at the Providence Regional Medical Center, as well as visiting the hospital’s Pavilion for Women and Children to distribute plush toys following another successful Teddy Bear Toss.
A key event within the Silvertips 2017-18 calendar came in the form of the “Local Heroes Night.” More than $15,000 was raised to benefit the Snohomish County Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the Medic One Foundation. Another successful Pink The Rink served to help raise $88,000 to fund free mammograms and cancer care for women in Snohomish County.
With an active, engaging and unique approach to social media, the Silvertips have also been able to create awareness of the WHL and the Silvertips brand. Additionally, the Silvertips took extra steps to upgrade their WHL Live production to high definition during the 2017-18 season.
WHL Regular Season Champion – Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
Moose Jaw Warriors
For the first time in franchise history, the Moose Jaw Warriors claimed the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL Regular Season Champions for the 2017-18 season. The record of 52-15-2-3 (109 points) represents the best in franchise history and the first time the Club has surpassed the 50-win plateau. The year was good enough to finish second in the CHL Top 10 rankings, helped along by the likes of Jayden Halbgewachs – who led the entire CHL in scoring – as well as stars Brett Howden, Kale Clague, Brayden Burke, Justin Almeida, Josh Brook and Jett Woo, among others.
WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
Jayden Halbgewachs – Moose Jaw Warriors
The 21-year-old product of Emerald Park, Sask., scored an astounding 70 goals and 129 points, to lead the entire Canadian Hockey League. His 70 goals serve as the first time a WHL player has reached the 70-goal plateau since Pavel Brendl achieved the feat by scoring 73 goals with the Calgary Hitmen during the 1998-99 campaign. The incredible season earned the former free agent a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
The 2018 Rogers WHL Championship Series will begin Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. MT as the Swift Current Broncos play host to the Everett Silvertips.
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.