SCHOLASTIC, HUMANITARIAN AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League has announced that Matt Bradley (Regina Pats/Surrey, B.C.) has been named the Eastern Conference Humanitarian of the Year and Ty Ronning (Vancouver Giants/Burnaby, B.C.) has been named the Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year. Each has also been nominated for the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Humanitarian of the Year.
As well, the WHL has announced that Chase Wouters (Saskatoon Blades/Lloydminster, AB) and Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs/Lloydminster, AB) are Scholastic Player of the Year finalists for the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each has been nominated for the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy.
Both the Doug Wickenheiser and Daryl K. Seaman Memorial Trophies will be presented at the 2018 WHL Awards on Wednesday, May 2nd in Red Deer.
The Scholastic award recognizes a player who has demonstrated academic excellence while competing in the WHL while the Humanitarian Trophy recognized a player who has helped enhance the community that he plays in.
Humanitarian Award Finalists
Eastern Conference – Matt Bradley (Regina Pats)
In addition to being one of the offensive leaders for the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup host Regina Pats, Bradley has gone above and beyond for those in his local Western Hockey League market and the league as a whole.
Acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers before the start of the 2018 WHL regular season, Bradley immediately set out to make a difference in his new hometown of Regina. He pledged $5 of his own money for every point he scored during October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When he raised $85 from his offensive production, he campaigned further and raised a total of $3,595 overall. This marked Bradley’s second year raising funds for cancer awareness after he raised $565 with the Tigers the season before.
Adjusting to a new community, Bradley took a lead role in the Pats’ outreach, stepped up with the Pats’ Canadian Mental Health Association night at the Brandt Centre. Bradley also set out to make a difference in the lives of children, visiting 15 schools to read to students and promote healthy lifestyles.
Healthy and active living is a core principal of life Bradley has also worked to promote by participating in the Ranch Ehlro Outdoor Hockey League, an initiative through the Ranch Ehlro Society, which provides inner-city youth and families access to a variety of recreational programs, including hockey.
Bradley’s contributions to his local community don’t stop at the city limits of Regina. When he happens to be home in Surrey, B.C., Bradley visits his local school where his mother serves as a Vice Principal and delivers the same message of healthy living and working to achieve one’s dreams.
Western Conference – Ty Ronning (Vancouver Giants)
The on-ice contributions of Ty Ronning to the success of the Vancouver Giants has been measured in goals, assists, points, and wins, but when it comes to his contributions off the ice, Ronning’s contributions are measured in the number of smiling faces from young fans.
His desire to spread kindness and do good for others has forever etched the overage forward as a fan and community favourite with the Giants organization.
Ronning has volunteered his time at the Vancouver Giants Hockey School and the team’s Read to Succeed Initiative. Additionally, Ronning spent extra time on the ice at the team’s Family Day skate in an effort to leave a positive impact on his community. In classrooms regularly, Ronning took time out of his schedule to speak with students at Our Lady of Sorrows School and St. Helens Elementary School, discussing the importance of perseverance and strong work ethic.
Ronning’s positive contributions to the community can be exhibited in two cases. Earlier this season, he received a letter from a fan in Burnaby, B.C. Instead of simply writing back, Ronning personally delivered a Giants’ jacket to the young fan’s house.
The New York Rangers prospect also developed a friendship with another Giants fan. As the former high school classmates continued to reconnect, Ronning welcomed the fan as a guest at Giants games throughout the season. The efforts and generosity from Ronning has served to further engrain a love for hockey within this fan.
Ronning’s continued commitment to fans of all ages and his uplifting approach to the surrounding community has established a culture of positivity on and off the ice within the Giants’ organization.
Scholastic Trophy Finalists
Eastern Conference – Chase Wouters (Saskatoon Blades)
In his second full season in the WHL, Wouters played in all 72 games, recording 51 points (18G-33A), setting career highs in goals, assists, and points. The 18-year-old forward has also scored top marks in the classroom, attaining honours student status throughout all three years of high school, maintaining an 89-per-cent average in Grade 10, a 90-per-cent average in Grade 11, and an 89-per-cent average in Grade 12.
An alternate captain for the Blades, Wouters excelled in core courses, posting a 94-per-cent grade in Math Foundations 20, a 92 per cent in Math Pre-Calc 30, a 90 per cent in Chemistry 30, an 87-per-cent in History 30: Canadian Studies, and an 83-per-cent in English Language Arts A30.
Wouters has also been recognized as the Scholastic Player, Hardest Worker, and Defensive Forward of the Year by the Blades during the 2017-18 season. This year marks the second straight season Wouters has been recognized as the Blades Hardest Working Player. The 6-foot-0, 177-pound forward is currently ranked 103rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their midterm rankings ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft. He was also recently named to Hockey Canada’s training camp roster for the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship.
“In addition to his strong performance on the ice and his excellent performance in the classroom, Chase is truly an amazing young man in the way he shows respect to all who come in contact with him,” Blades’ Education Advisor Kim Hebert said. “He is mature beyond his years and will have a very bright future ahead of him regardless of the direction he chooses.”
Wouters was originally selected by the Blades in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
Western Conference – Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)
Playing in his second full season with the Chiefs, Smith recorded 73 points (14G-59A) in 69 games, finishing second among all WHL defencemen in scoring during the 2017-18 WHL regular season. Making the move from Lloydminster, Alta. to Spokane, Wash. for the 2016-17 school year, Smith has maintained a 3.57 GPA during his studies south of the border. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defenceman scored top marks throughout his time in high school, posting a 98 per cent in Computer Applications B, a 95 per cent in Anatomy and Physiology A and a 91 per cent in Physics – Year 1A.
He also registered an 88 per cent in Pre-Calculus A and an 87 per cent in English 11A while also earning an 84 per cent in Bridge to College English 12A and 83 per cent in AP Statistics A.
In his first season with the Chiefs, Smith was named the team’s Rookie of the Year and Scholastic Player of the Year. This year, he was named the team’s top defenceman and earned a second consecutive Scholastic Player of the Year Award.
Smith is currently ranked 14th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in their midterm rankings ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft. He was also recently named to Hockey Canada’s training camp roster for the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship.
“Ty truly epitomizes what it means to be a learner,” said Chiefs Education Advisor Joe Everson. “He is curious, diligent, willing to persevere, and talented. He is also a natural leader by example in the classroom. Despite the time commitment athletics demand of him, Ty manages to balance his workload and maintain a very positive attitude, all while outperforming many of his peers.
“His leadership centers on quietly modeling and contributing to the group in any setting.”
Smith was originally selected by the Chiefs with the first overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
Meanwhile the Edmonton Oil Kings and Everett Silvertips were named as Finalists for the WHL’s Business / Marketing / Communications Award.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.