May 06, 2015 - 9:18 AM
KELOWNA - The 2015 WHL Awards are set for tomorrow afternoon in Calgary while the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft will kick off on Thursday morning. Both events will be available live at www.whl.ca.
The WHL Awards, held annually to recognize the WHL’s best performers on and off the ice, takes place at 12 p.m. Mountain Time in Calgary, AB at the Deerfoot Inn on Wednesday, May 6th. The list of nominees for the 2015 WHL Awards includes many worthy candidates who enjoyed memorable performances throughout the 2014-15 WHL regular season.
The WHL’s most coveted award is the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy. Named in memory of the four members of the Swift Current Broncos who died in a tragic accident on December of 1986, the award is presented annually to the WHL Player of the Year. In the WHL's Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions, the Player of the Year nominee is forward Tim McGauley of the Brandon Wheat Kings. In the WHL’s Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the Player of the Year nominee is forward Oliver Bjorkstrand from the Portland Winterhawks.
McGauley, a product of Wilcox, SK, enjoyed an outstanding season for the Brandon Wheat Kings, helping the team to a 53-11-4-4 record and the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the League’s top team in the 2014-15 regular season. The 19-year-old scored 42 goals and 63 assists for 105 points to go along with a plus-43 rating while playing in all 72 games. McGauley’s 105 points ranked third in WHL scoring and first among all Wheat Kings players. McGauley recorded an impressive 24-game point scoring streak in which he totalled 53 points (17g-36a) from January 16, 2015 – March 13, 2015. He also recorded 34 multiple-point games as well as eight game-winning goals for the Wheat Kings.
Bjorkstrand enjoyed a terrific 2014-15 season for the Portland Winterhawks, helping the team post a record of 43-23-2-4 and a second place finish in the U.S. Division to clinch a playoff berth. The 20-year-old scored 63 goals and 55 assists for 118 points to go with a plus-60 rating while appearing in just 58 games for the Winterhawks. Bjorkstrand’s 63 goals and 118 points led all WHL players. In addition, Bjorkstrand led all WHL players with eight shorthanded goals and finished tied for first among WHL players with 10 game-winning-goals. Bjorkstrand is the third WHL player since the 2000-01 season to reach the 60-goal mark during a season.
Among other 2015 WHL Awards nominees are the two finalists for the WHL Rookie of the Year. Wheat King Nolan Patrick, the Eastern Conference’s finalist, and Spokane Chiefs forward Kailer Yamamoto, the Western Conference’s finalist, each enjoyed terrific 16-year-old seasons and will be looking to go home with the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy.
The Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy for WHL Scholastic Player of the Year will be awarded to either Joe Gatenby (Kelowna Rockets) or Nick McBride (Prince Albert Raiders) after the year produced one of the strongest academic classes in WHL history.
The 2015 WHL Awards will also see the presentation of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy for the WHL Defenceman of the Year, the Brad Hornung Trophy for WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player, the Del Wilson Trophy for WHL Goaltender of the Year, the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy for WHL Coach of the Year, the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy for WHL Executive of the Year, the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy for WHL Humanitarian of the Year, the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy for WHL Top Official, and the awards for WHL Scholastic Team of the Year as well as the WHL Marketing/Business Award.
Over the years, the WHL has presented awards to many players who have gone on to stardom in the NHL and in international play.
Past winners of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy include current NHL stars Cam Ward (Red Deer Rebels, 2003-04), Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2009-10) and Jarome Iginla (Kamloops Blazers, 1995-96). NHL legends such as Joe Sakic (Swift Current Broncos, 1986-87 & 1987-88), Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1981-82 & 1982-83), Bryan Trottier (Lethbridge Broncos, 1974-75) and Bobby Clarke (Flin Flon Bombers, 1968-69) have also earned the honour. Last year’s winner was forward Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay ICE.
2015 WHL BANTAM DRAFT
The Western Hockey League will conduct its annual Bantam Draft on Thursday, May 7, at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, AB.
The WHL Bantam Draft is the first opportunity for WHL Clubs to replenish their systems with graduating Bantam-aged players. The order of selection for the first round of the draft is determined through a weighted lottery consisting of the six non-playoff teams and, by way of a trade with Saskatoon, the Spokane Chiefs hold the first overall choice in 2015. The draft order in the subsequent rounds is based on the inverse overall standings from the regular season.
The 2015 WHL Bantam Draft will begin with the first overall pick at 8:30 a.m. MDT on Thursday. Last year, the Brandon Wheat Kings selected Stelio Mattheos first overall.
The first round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft will be available live via webcast at www.whl.ca, while fans and prospects can also follow complete live results at www.whl.ca/prospects or by using the WHL’s official mobile app.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015