April 13, 2023

Bedard among nominees for WHL Player of the Year

Connor Bedard could be adding additional hardware to his collection soon.

Bedard was among the division nominees for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the Western Hockey League’s player of the year. The award honors the four Swift Current Broncos players who lost their lives in a bus crash in 1986.

“There is really no way to undersell how dominant Bedard has been this year,” FCHockey scout Donesh Mazloum said. “He assaulted the WHL scoresheet to the tune of 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games — a full 36 points ahead of second best despite playing nine fewer games — and finished the season by almost single handedly willing his Regina Pats teams to a series upset over the Blades in the playoffs…again showing a sparkling stat line of 10 goals and 20 points in seven games.

“Opponents have been game planning around him all year and no one has come close to slowing him down let alone stopping him. I think that there is no question that this has been the most impressive junior season since Connor McDavid.”

Bedard, the consensus No. 1 for the 2023 NHL Draft, is the WHL’s East Division player of the year after a remarkable season with the Regina Pats that saw him lead the league in goals (71), assists (72), and points (143) in becoming the first WHL player to record 140-plus points in a season since 1995-96.

The 17-year-old was the WHL Player of the Month on four occasions during the 2022-23 season and also became Canada’s all-time leading scorer at the IIHF World Junior Championship, helping his country to a gold medal victory in January.

Bedard, originally selected by the Pats with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft, holds career regular season totals of 134 goals and 271 points over 134 appearances with Regina.

Kamloops Blazers forward and Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven, the reigning Four Broncos Memorial Trophy winner, led his team to its fourth consecutive B.C. Division title. Despite playing in only 48 of Kamloops’ 68 games, the Dallas Stars prospect finished fourth in the League in scoring with 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists).

Stankoven, 20, was one of only two WHL skaters to average two or more points-per-game while appearing in at least 40 regular season skates. The 5-foot-8, 170-pound forward, originally selected fifth overall by Kamloops in the 2018 Bantam Draft, and has collected 260 points (115 goals, 145 assists) over his 180 regular season appearances with the Blazers.

Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels is the Central Division nominee. Uchacz, a 19-year-old eligible for the 2023 draft, logged 50 goals in the regular season, and has totalled 128 points (67 goals, 61 assists) in 177 career regular-season games in the WHL since being selected 10th overall in the 2018 Bantam Draft.

Jackson Berezowski of the Everett Silvertips is the U.S. Division player of the year after finishing second amongst all scorers in the region with 81 points (48 goals, 33 assists). His goal total also set a Silvertips franchise record and registered third-highest league-wide. He finishes his junior career with 232 points (130 goals, 102 assists) in 273 games, all with Everett.

The winner of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy will be announced on Wednesday, May 10.

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