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BCHL announces 2022-23 year-end award winners

The BCHL has announced the winners of its year-end awards for the 2022-23 season.

Three award finalists for each trophy were determined after a round of voting by the 18 league head coaches. Winners were selected after a second round of voting by the same coaches.

Vern Dye Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player)

Bradly Nadeau (F) – Penticton Vees

Nadeau’s 113 points this year led the BCHL in scoring and was also the highest single-season total from a player since 2015-16. At 17 years old, he took the league by storm in his second BCHL campaign, starting the year on a 17-game point streak and recording multiple points 14 times over that stretch. In addition to leading the league in points, his 68 assists were tops in the BCHL and his 45 goals were tied for the league lead.

His highlights this year include a three-goal, one-assist performance in a November win over the West Kelowna Warriors, as well two separate six-point efforts, one in December against the Warriors and another in a March victory over the Nanaimo Clippers.

So far, through two rounds of the playoffs, the 2023 NHL Draft prospect, and University of Maine commit, continues to set the pace among BCHL scorers, leading the postseason with 19 points in eight games.

Nadeau is the 23rd Vees player to take home the trophy and the first since Tyson Jost in 2016.

Runners up: Josh Nadeau (Penticton), Ean Somoza (Wenatchee)

Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)

Oliver Auyeung-Ashton (G) – Victoria Grizzlies

Auyeung-Ashton led all BCHL rookie netminders in every statistical category. His .927 save percentage was second highest among all BCHL goalies, while his 2.48 goals-against average ranked fourth and his five shutouts were second. He also played the second most minutes of any goaltender and finished the year with a record of 21-14-6.

During a three-game stretch from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, the Coquitlam, B.C. product recorded three straight shutouts in victories over the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Alberni Valley Bulldogs and Salmon Arm Silverbacks, which was part of a four-game winning streak where he only allowed one total goal.

This is the second year in a row a Grizzlies player has won the award after Matthew Wood took home the honour last year. In fact, a Victoria player has won the Rookie of the Year four of the past five times it has been handed out. Overall the Grizzlies have five players that have been Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy winners.

Runners up: Micah Berger (Wenatchee), Aydar Suniev (Penticton)

Michael Garteig Trophy (Top Goaltender)

Nathan Airey – Cranbrook Bucks

Airey won 23 of his 36 starts during the year and ended the season ranked third in both save percentage (.925) and goals-against average (2.44). He also recorded two shutouts.

The 2003-born netminder won six straight starts from Nov. 30 to Dec. 16 before being injured and missing over a month of time. He ended up winning his first game back from injury on Jan. 27, stretching his win streak to seven. Over that span, Airey did not give up more than two goals in a single start. In addition, that was part of a nine-game stretch where he gave up two goals or less.

His strong season eventually landed him a scholarship to the University of Minnesota.

Airey is the first Bucks player to win the Michael Garteig Trophy and the first Cranbrook player to ever win a major BCHL award.

Runners up: Oliver Auyeung-Ashton (Victoria), Eli Pulver (Surrey)

Campbell Blair Trophy (Top Defenceman)

Abram Wiebe – Chilliwack Chiefs

Wiebe was Chilliwack’s offensive leader on the ice and their overall leader in the dressing room. The Chiefs captain and top defenceman led the team in scoring with 53 points in 54 games, which also ranked second among all BCHL blueliners. His 41 assists were second most among all d-men, while his 12 goals were third.

The 2022 Vegas Golden Knights draft pick really got hot around the Holidays, going on a run of nine straight games with a point from Dec. 10 to Jan. 15, recording two goals and 11 assists over that stretch.

Wiebe is the third Chilliwack Chief to take home the Campbell Blair Trophy and the first since Rob Marshall in the 1999-2000 season.

Runners up: Frank Djurasevic (Penticton), Ethan Mistry (Nanaimo)

Bob Fenton Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike)

Josh Nadeau (F) – Penticton Vees

Nadeau finished the 2022-23 campaign as the BCHL’s second leading scorer with 110 points on the year, just three back of his brother Bradly for the league lead. His 66 assists were second most, while his 44 goals were third and just one back of the BCHL lead.

He accomplished all of this while only taking 14 minutes in penalties and playing in all 54 regular season games.

Nadeau’s brightest moments this year include three separate five-point games, including two instances where he notched a hat trick and two asissts. He also had his first career four-goal game in a Feb. 24 win over the Wenatchee Wild.

So far in the postseason, he leads the BCHL with 12 assists in eight games and his 18 points are just one back of the league lead.

Nadeau is the sixth Vees player to win the Bob Fenton Trophy and the first since Zac Dalpe in 2008.

Runners up: Jake Bongo (Surrey), Brady Hunter (Trail)

Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year)

Ryan Donald – Cranbrook Bucks

In just their second full season as a BCHL franchise, Donald led the Bucks to a 36-14-1-3 record and second place in the highly competitive Interior Conference. Their 76 points were a 13-point improvement from the season prior.

Cranbrook’s plus-60 goal differential was the second highest in the league, while their 81 per cent penalty kill rate ranked fifth.

This is Donald’s first Coach of the Year award and, along with Michael Garteig Trophy winner Nathan Airey, they are the first members of the Bucks organization to earn a major individual league award.

Non-Voting Awards

Brett Hull Trophy (Top Scorer)

Bradly Nadeau (F) – Penticton Vees

54GP – 45G –  68A – 113 PTS

Wally Forslund Trophy (Goaltending Duo)

Awarded to the goaltending duo from the team with the lowest goals-against average

Luca Di Pasquo & Hank Levy – Penticton Vees

96 goals against (1.77 average)