WHL set for league awards, bantam draft

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart up for player of the year and most sportsmanlike honours.

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart celebrates a goal against the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round of the WHL playoffs.

Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart celebrates a goal against the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round of the WHL playoffs.

It will be a busy week for the WHL, with an awards luncheon on Wednesday in Calgary, and Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart is up for WHL Player of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Player as the Eastern Conference nominee.

On both counts, he will be going up against Mitch Holmberg of the Spokane Chiefs. Holmberg, an overage player, won the WHL scoring race with 62 goals and 118 points.

Reinhart tied Leon Drasaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders as the top scorer in the Eastern Conference, tallying 36 goals and 105 points—one shy of tying a franchise record set by Jarret Stoll.

On Thursday, the WHL will host the bantam draft, with Kootenay holding the 11th overall pick. Garnet Kazuik, the Ice director of scouting, will take the lead on selecting the cream of the crop for the 1999-born age group.

The Ice have six players that will be in their overage season next year, but are only allowed three. Though the draft is a prime time for teams to swap players and picks, Kootenay Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth is happy to hold firm and take a wait-and-see approach.

“We’re just going to draft the best 1999-born players that we can have and we’ll deal with the 20-year-old situation when the time is right,” said Chynoweth.