CALGARY, AB. – The Western Hockey League announced today that Calgary will host the 2011 WHL Awards Luncheon and Bantam Draft at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. The WHL Awards Luncheon, held annually to recognize the WHL’s best performers from the regular season, will be held on Wednesday, May 4th, while the annual WHL Bantam Draft will take place on Thursday, May 5th.
The WHL Awards Luncheon will feature the WHL’s current stars and the future stars of the National Hockey League. There will be 12 prestigious awards presented, including WHL Player of the Year (Four Broncos Memorial Trophy), WHL Rookie of the Year (Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy) and the Defenceman of the Year (Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy). The WHL will also recognize academic excellence by handing out the WHL Scholastic Player and Team of the Year awards.
Over the years, the WHL has presented awards to many players who have gone on to stardom in the NHL and in international play. Past winners of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy include current NHL players Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2009-10), Karl Alzner (Calgary Hitmen, 2007-08), Kris Russell (Medicine Hat Tigers, 2006-07), Cam Ward (Red Deer Rebels, 2003-04), Dan Hamhuis (Prince George Cougars, 2001-02) and Jarome Iginla (Kamloops Blazers, 1995-96), and NHL legends such as Joe Sakic (Swift Current Broncos, 1986-87 & 1987-88), Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1981-82 & 1982-83), Bryan Trottier (Lethbridge Broncos, 1974-75) and Bobby Clarke (Flin Flon Bombers, 1968-69).
The annual WHL Bantam Draft is the first step in the identification of the top rated 1996-born prospects as WHL Clubs select players from this age group to add to their WHL Player Protected List. Players eligible for the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft will be 1996-born players who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Previous number one selections during the WHL Bantam Draft include Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks (2009); Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels (2008); Quinton Howden, Moose Jaw Warriors (2007); Jared Cowen, Spokane Chiefs (2006); Colten Teubert, Regina Pats (2005); Gilbert Brule, Vancouver Giants (2002); Kyle Chipchura, Prince Albert Raiders (2001); Braydon Coburn, Portland Winter Hawks (2000); and Jay Bouwmeester, Medicine Hat Tigers (1998).
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