In the Tri-City Herald’s annual Best of the West Awards, Winterhawks players were crowned top players for many awards that any player would like to put up on their mantle.
Awards are voted on by players, management, and broadcasters from all ten teams in the league which gives a clear perspective about how teams feel about others without media influence.
Among those to see their name next to an award was Brendan Leipsic, the 2013 most irritating player in the entire Western Hockey League. The small 5’9” center leads the league with 110 points on the season, but also may be among the top trash talkers in the league too. This also marks the second season in a row that a Winterhawk has taken the title. Brad Ross was last year’s champion of irritation.
Other Winterhawks winning awards that mom and dad would be proud to put on the fridge were Taylor Peters, Seth Jones, Tyler Wotherspoon, and Ty Rattie.
Peters is regarded as the Top Defensive Forward in the league as well as winning the title of Top Faceoff Man. Peters’ offensive production is well noted, but the Winterhawks are allowing only 2.27 goals a game also has to do with his leadership on the defensive end. Peters’ ability to give his team possession of the puck from faceoffs is also reflected in the team’s league leading 292 goals.
Jones is also the recipient of two awards. He earned Top Rookie Honors and is considered the Best Pro Prospect in the league. Jones was widely considered a top candidate for the number one pick in the NHL draft even before he stepped on the ice for the Winterhawks. His play this season both for Portland and the United States team has all but assured him as the top pick in the upcoming draft. Behind Jones were fellow Winterhawks Ty Rattie and Nic Petan who finished second and third in Best Pro Prospect voting.
Wotherspoon, one of the team’s top defensemen, was voted as the Best Stay at Home D-Man. He leads all defensemen in plus/minus with a plus 58. He also commits few mental mistakes and has only garnered 24 penalty minutes on the season.
Rattie is a repeat winner of the Most Accurate Shot award. The sharpshooter is fourth in the league in scoring with 94 points and sixth in goals scored with 39. Those numbers are what make him a top prospect for this year’s NHL draft.
All of the Winterhawks have something to be proud of. They are dominating the league in most statistical categories. One thing that is for sure, Leipsic will be sure to tell everyone about it.