Brandon, Manitoba – Captain Nolan Patrick walked away with three trophies Saturday night as the Brandon Wheat Kings brought the curtain down on their 2016-17 Western Hockey League season.
The 18-year old Winnipeg product, who is currently ranked as the top draft eligible player for the 2017 National Hockey League draft, was named the Wheat Kings Meighen Haddad LLP Most Valuable Player, the Manitoba Hydro Turk Broda Top Manitoba Born Player as well as the Shoppers Drug Mart Fans’ Choice Award.
Patrick, who was named last year’s WHL Playoff MVP after leading the Wheat Kings to their first championship in twenty years, averaged close to a point and an a half a game during the 2016-17 campaign.
In 33 games this season, the 6’3” 198 lb. center, who missed Saturday’s game after being dumped by Regina defenceman Josh Mahura during Friday’s game in Regina, scored 20 goals and 46 points. During his first three years in the WHL, he has 205 points, including 92 goals in 163 career games.
Patrick was one of three Wheat Kings to win multiple awards on Saturday, joining Tanner Kaspick and Reid Duke. While Duke captured the Brandon Sun scoring title with 71 points, including 37 goals as well as the Mazergroup 3 Stars Award, Kaspick was named winner of both the Canad Inns Hardest Working and the Coca Cola Rob Stouffer Most Inspirational Player honours.
A St. Louis Blues’ draft choice, Kaspick enjoyed a career year in 2015-16, scoring 19 goals and 45 points in 49 games.
Rounding out the list of winners announced before, during and immediately after Saturday’s regular season finale against the visiting Regina Pats were netminder Logan Thompson (Dennis Truscott UCT Most Improved Player), Russian defenceman Dmitri Osipov (Precision Toyota Unsung Hero Award), third year defenceman Kale Clague (Brad McCrimmon Defenceman of the Year), James Shearer (McDonalds Most Community Minded Player), Connor Gutenberg (Maggie Janz Scholastic Player of the Year), Ty Lewis (Keystone Centre Most Sportsmanlike Player), Tyler Coulter (Art Marshall Top Graduating Player) and 17-year old Daniel Bukac of the Czech Republic (MNP Rookie of the Year).
In addition to handing out the awards Saturday night, Wheat Kings’ Owner and Governor Kelly McCrimmon made special presentations to Brandon’s three graduating players – Duke, Coulter and Osipov.
During his 5-year WHL career, Duke scored 115 goals and 253 points in 311 games. Coulter scored 76 goals and 176 points in 262 games over the course of his four years in Brandon while Osipov finished his 3-year career in the WHL with eight goals and 41 points in 169 games. The 20-year old Moscow native was acquired from the Vancouver Giants at January’s trade deadline.
For the eighth consecutive season, the Wheat Kings awards were given out during the club’s final regular season game, which was won by the Pats by a score of 6-0 before a Standing Room Only crowd of over 5,600 fans at Westman Place.
Brandon finished the regular season with a record of 31-31-7-3 and the first wild card spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
The defending champion Wheat Kings will now meet the Central Division pennant winning Tigers in the opening round of post-season play, beginning next weekend in Medicine Hat. The Wheat Kings will host games three and four of the best of seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 28th and 29th at Credit Union Place in Dauphin.
Tickets to both Dauphin games will go on sale at 10am Monday, March 20th in the Wheat Kings’ office. Fans can also call (204) 726-3535.
The Wheat Kings have been forced to play their first round playoff home games in Dauphin due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, scheduled for the Keystone Centre from March 27th – April 1st.
This will mark the first time in five years that Brandon and Medicine Hat will meet in post-season play. The Tigers defeated the Wheat Kings in the 2011 playoffs.