While the Regina Pats are concentrating on the immediate future as they get ready for the opener of the WHL Final Friday night at the Brandt Centre against the Seattle Thunderbirds, the team has to look back at the regular season while looking ahead to seasons beyond over the next two days.
The WHL Bantam Draft will go on Thursday, but before that, the league honors its best from this season as they present its awards at a luncheon in Calgary.
While Sam Steel knows he will win the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s top scorer after a 131 point season, the Sherwood Park, Alberta native is the Eastern Conference nominee for player of the year. He is up against Seattle’s Matt Barzal in the final vote for the “Four Broncos Memorial Trophy” The last Pat to win the WHL player of the year award was Jordan Eberle in the 2009-10 season.
The league final is Regina versus Seattle as is the vote for player of the year and top defenceman.
Connor Hobbs is looking to become the first Regina blueliner to be named the WHL’s top defenceman since Jason Smith in the 1993-94 season, but like Steel, Hobbs will have to get past a member of the Seattle Thunderbirds to win the honour as Ethan Bear from the Ochapowace First Nation is the West nominee.
Hobbs set a record this season for goals by a Pats defenceman as he had 31 to go along wih 54 assists.
Head coach and general manager John Paddock is the East nominee for coach of the year and executive of the year. He faces Portland’s Mike Johnston in the Coach of the Year category and Kelowna’s Bruce Hamilton for executive of the year.
Captain Adam Brooks will be recognized at the luncheon as a first-team all-star alongside Steel and Hobbs, while Sergei Zborovskiy will be given the plus-minus award after leading the league with a +72 in 64 games played.