Four members of the Kelowna Rockets received individual accolades Thursday as the Western Hockey League named its conference all-star teams and individual award finalists.
Jordon Cooke was named the first team Western Conference goaltender and a finalist for Goaltender of the Year, Madison Bowey and Damon Severson were both named second team all-star defencemen while Nick Merkley is a finalist for Rookie of the Year.
The announcements were made Thursday afternoon by WHL Commissioner, Ron Robison during a playoff kickoff media conference at the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna.
"It's a very exciting experience and a very surreal acknowledgement," says Cooke who is up for the league award alongside Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
"I definitely couldn't have done it without this team this entire year. I know a lot of my success has been credited to them and it always will by the way we play."
Merkley, the Western Conference nominee for rookie of the year says he's thrilled to receive the honour and to beat out another highly touted rookie from Seattle.
"Me and Mathew Barzal have been going at it head-to-head all year. We're good buddies. It could have been either of us," says Merkley.
"He stayed at my house for stampede last year and we worked out together."
Bowey says it was great to be recognized and cool to do so with teammate Damon Severson.
"I know both of us definitely push each other to be the best we can night in and night out and for us to share that together is pretty cool," says Bowey.
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska says the entire organization is proud of the accomplishments of the four singled out Thursday.
He says it's nice so see them get recognized from their peers around the league.
"It's a great honour that has been given to these young men," says Huska.
"We think they are very deserving of it and at the end of the day I think if you ask them, I think a lot of their success has come from our team play. They owe a little bit of their good fortune today to what our team has been able to do over the course of the regular season."
Following are the entire all-star team and award finalists.
WHL EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAMS
FIRST ALL-STAR TEAM
- Goaltender – Tristan Jarry (Delta, BC), Edmonton Oil Kings
- Defenceman – Josh Morrissey (Calgary, AB), Prince Albert Raiders
- Defenceman – Ryan Pulock (Grandview, MB) Brandon Wheat Kings
- Forward – Sam Reinhart (Vancouver, BC), Kootenay Ice *
- Forward – Leon Draisaitl (Cologne, Germany), Prince Albert Raiders
- Forward – Curtis Lazar (Vernon, BC), Edmonton Oil Kings
SECOND ALL-STAR TEAM
- Goaltender – Patrik Bartosak (Koprivnice, CZR), Red Deer Rebels
- Defenceman – Griffin Reinhart (West Vancouver, BC), Edmonton Oil Kings
- Defenceman – Julius Honka (Jyvaskyla, Finland), Swift Current Broncos
- Forward – Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers
- Forward – Jaedon Descheneau (Edmonton, AB), Kootenay Ice
- Forward – Chandler Stephenson (Saskatoon, SK), Regina
WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAMS
FIRST ALL-STAR TEAM
- Goaltender – Jordon Cooke (Leduc, AB), Kelowna Rockets
- Defenceman – Derrick Pouliot (Weyburn, SK), Portland Winterhawks
- Defenceman – Shea Theodore (Aldergrove, BC), Seattle Thunderbirds
- Forward – Nicolas Petan (Delta, BC), Portland Winterhawks *
- Forward – Mitch Holmberg (Sherwood Park, AB), Spokane Chiefs *
- Forward – Oliver Bjorkstrand (Herning, Denmark), Portland Winterhawks
SECOND ALL-STAR TEAM
- Goaltender – Eric Comrie (Edmonton, AB), Tri-City Americans
- Defenceman – Damon Severson (Melville, SK), Kelowna Rockets
- Defenceman – Madison Bowey (Winnipeg, MB), Kelowna Rockets
- Forward – Joshua Winquist (St. Albert, AB), Everett Silvertips
- Forward – Todd Fiddler (Meadow Lake, SK), Prince George Cougars
- Forward – Mike Aviani (North Vancouver, BC), Spokane Chiefs
* indicates unanimous selection
The WHL announced the Finalists in the following categories.
WHL Rookie of the Year, Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Nikita Scherbak (Moscow, Russia), Saskatoon Blades
Western Conference – Nick Merkley (Calgary, AB), Kelowna Rockets
WHL Goaltender of the Year, Del Wilson Trophy
Eastern Conference – Tristan Jarry (Delta, BC), Edmonton Oil Kings
Western Conference – Jordon Cooke (Leduc, AB), Kelowna Rockets
WHL Defenceman of the Year, Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Josh Morrissey (Calgary, AB), Prince Albert Raiders
Western Conference – Derrick Pouliot (Weyburn, SK), Portland Winterhawks
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Brad Hornung Trophy
Eastern Conference – Sam Reinhart (Vancouver, BC), Kootenay Ice
Western Conference – Mitch Holmberg (Sherwood Park, AB), Spokane Chiefs
WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Nelson Nogier (Saskatoon, SK) Saskatoon Blades
Western Conference – Dominic Turgeon (Cherry Hills, CO) Portland Winterhawks
WHL Coach of the Year, Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Shaun Clouston, Medicine Hat Tigers
Western Conference – Dave Lowry, Victoria Royals
WHL Executive of the Year, Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Mike Moore, Calgary Hitmen
Western Conference – Cam Hope, Victoria Royals
WHL Humanitarian of the Year, Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Sam Fioretti (Calgary, AB) Moose Jaw Warriors
Western Conference – Mitch Topping (Red Deer, AB) Tri City Americans
WHL Marketing / Business Award
Eastern Conference – Regina Pats
Western Conference – Seattle Thunderbirds
WHL Regular Season Champions, Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
Kelowna Rockets: GP – 72 W – 57 L – 11 OTL – 0 SL – 4 Pts – 118
WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
Mitch Holmberg (Sherwood Park, AB), Spokane Chiefs
GP – 72 G – 62 A – 56 Pts – 118 PIM – 25