Carter Hart has gone back-to-back.
The Everett Silvertips goaltender won his second straight Del Wilson Trophy as the Western Hockey League’s Goaltender of the Year Wednesday at the WHL Awards ceremony in Calgary.
“It’s obviously a pretty big honor and I’m excited to win that trophy again,” Hart said by phone. “When you look back at the names there have been some pretty big award winners like Carey Price and Cam Ward, and it’s pretty cool to be a part of that.”
Additionally, Tips second-year forward Brian King won the Doc Seaman Trophy for the WHL’s Scholastic Athlete of the Year.
“My education is something I’ve put a lot of effort into and I’ve really worked hard throughout the year,” King said. “It’s great to be rewarded and recognized for that not only by the team, but the entire league.”
Veteran Everett defenseman Kevin Davis was the Western Conference nominee for the Brad Hornung Trophy as the Most Sportsmanlike Player, but that award went to Tyler Steenbergen of the Swift Current Broncos.
Hart, who last season went on to win the CHL Goaltender of the Year, became the fourth goalie in WHL history to win the award back-to-back. If he repeats as the CHL goalie of the year later this month, he would be the first in history to do so.
A signed prospect of the Philadelphia Flyers, Hart led the WHL in goals-against average (1.99) and shutouts (nine) while tying for the league lead in save percentage (.927).
“I’m very lucky to be where I am in Everett,” Hart said. “It’s such a good place to be in Everett because they surround you with the best resources possible and the best environment to help you succeed. I think that’s why I can count some of my success to where I am and the coaches that I’ve had.”
King won Everett’s “Unsung Hero” Award this season while tallying 17 points in 62 games. He was a key component of Everett’s penalty-kill unit and is on track to be valedictorian at Everett High School in June. He boasts a 4.0 grade-point average and scored 1490 on the SAT. King claimed the award over Prince Albert’s Adam Kadlec.
“I know Kinger works really hard in the classroom,” Hart said. “He’s always studying on the bus and doing homework on the bus, and doing homework on the bus is a pretty hard environment because most of the guys are messing around and having fun, and there’s Kinger just grinding away at his books. I really applaud that and respect that.”
King was the second straight Western Conference nominee from Everett as Tristen Pfeifer finished as the runner-up to Brandon’s Tanner Kaspick last May.
Pfeifer completed two full years of college studies online while playing two seasons with the Tips before concussions forced him to retire prior to the 2016-17 season.
“I really gotta thank him,” King said. “He’s like a role model to me and all the hard work and effort he put in, he really inspired me and showed me that I could do it. Not a lot of players had taken the path he had taken. … It was great to have someone where I could follow in their footsteps and look up to.”
Davis appeared in all 72 games this season and tallied a career-high 59 points with 29 power-play assists to go along with 14 penalty minutes. Steenbergen claimed the award with 22 penalty minutes and 90 points in 72 games.
Prior to last season the Tips hadn’t won an individual WHL award since Kyle Beach won the Jim Piggott Trophy for Rookie of the Year in 2007.
Regina Pats forward Sam Steel, a former bantam teammate of Hart back in Sherwood Park, Alberta, took home the Four Broncos Trophy as the WHL Player of the Year, edging out Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Steel also won the Bob Clarke Trophy for top scorer.
Swift Current’s Aleksi Heponniemi won the Piggott trophy over Kamloops’ Rudolfs Balcers, while Seattle’s Ethan Bear won the Bill Hunter Trophy over Regina’s Connor Hobbs as Defenseman of the Year.
Lethbridge’s Tyler Wong claimed the Doug Wickenheiser Trophy as Humanitarian of the Year for the second straight season while Prince George’s Sam Ruopp was the runner-up.
Regina coach/general manager John Paddock won both Coach and Executive of the Year honors and the Pats won the WHL Business Award. Victoria claimed the Team Scholastic Award and Brett Iverson won the Allen Paradice Trophy as Official of the Year.
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