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Rockets shutout at WHL awards lunch

The Kelowna Rockets came away empty handed at Wednesday's Western Hockey League awards luncheon in Calgary.

Forward Zach Franko (most sportsmanlike), coach Ryan Huska (top coach) and president/general manager Bruce Hamilton (top executive) all came out on the wrong side of the voting ledger when winners were announced.

Huska's defeat was perhaps the most surprising of the three.

The veteran Rockets coach took a team many expected to finish in the middle of the pack and led them to a franchise record 52 victories and 108 points, second only to the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL.

The Rockets also won a team record 23 straight at home, falling one shy of the franchise record of 24.

Ryan McGill of the Kootenay Ice won the honour.

McGill led the Ice to a spectacular second half turnaround, guiding the club to a 15th straight playoff appearance.

The Ice were 10-24-1, 21st in the league at the midway point of the season before turning the ship around in the second half. McGill guided the Ice to a 25-11-1 mark over the second half of the season, the fifth best record in the league over that span.

Franko lost out to Edmonton Oil King's Dylan Wruck for Most Sportsmanlike Player.

Wruck finished tied for 15th in league scoring with 85 points including 63 assists and picked up only 14 minutes in penalties.

He played the final 30 games of the regular season without being assessed a single penalty.

Franko finished second in Rockets scoring with 72 points and only 11 minutes in penalties.

Bob Green of the Edmonton Oil Kings edged out Hamilton for Executive of the Year.

Under Green, the Oil Kings finished with 108 points while winning the Central Division and Eastern Conference pennants for a second straight year.

The 2012-13 edition of the Oil Kings boasted 15 players selected by Green and his staff through the WHL Bantam Draft, including top scorers Michael St. Croix and Curtis Lazar, and the dominant goaltending tandem of Laurent Brossoit and Tristan Jarry, and another two players who were chosen in the CHL Import Draft.

In addition, Green managed to add key players like Henrik Samuelsson, Cody Corbett and David Musil through astute trades and signings.

Other awards winners announced Wednesday include:

  • Player of the Year - Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos
  • Rookie of the Year - Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks
  • Goaltender of the Year - Patrik Bartosak, Red Deer Rebels
  • Defenceman of the Year - Brenden Kichton, Spokane Chiefs
  • Scholastic Player - Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert Raiders
  • Humanitarian of the Year - Cody Sylvester, Calgary Hitmen

It was also announced Wednesday that Calgary will host the 2014 Top Prospects Game.

Team executives will remain in Calgary for the next day or so as the league holds its annual Bantam Draft Thursday.

The Rockets will select 21st in the opening round.



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