Now that we’ve gone through the 29 BCHL alums that earned All-Conference or All-Rookie honours in the NCAA, it’s time to shine the spotlight on those players who were recently named year-end conference award winners.
Player of the Year:
F Jason Cotton – Senior – Sacred Heart University (West Kelowna Warriors)
Cotton was one of the most prolific scorers in Atlantic Hockey this season. He was tied for fourth in point-per-game (.96) in the conference and 10th in the nation in goal scoring at .59 goals a game. He was by far the best overall scorer, scoring three power play goals, three shorthanded goals, three game-winning goals, a hat trick and was named to the All-Conference First team. Cotton ends his Pioneer career playing 118 career games with 41 goals and 40 assists at Sacred Heart.
Rookie of the Year:
F Braeden Tuck – Freshman – Sacred Heart University (Trail Smoke Eaters)
Tuck was an immediate contributor to the Pioneers this season. He scored the most points among freshman with 26 points and also led the conference in assists among rookies with 22. Tuck also added a shorthanded goal, a game-winning goal and added 13 blocks to his growing resume. He finished 10th in the nation in points-per-game among freshman at .82 and was also named to the All-Conference Rookie team.
D Mike Lee – Senior – Sacred Heart University (Penticton Vees)
Lee capped off his senior year in style with the Pioneers. He finished first in assists (.86 per game), first in defenceman scoring (1.04 points per game) and tied for first in power-play scoring (.64 points per game). The senior is also 10th in the nation in assists per game fifth in defenceman scoring. Lee ends his career at Sacred Heart with 10 goals and 48 assists in 119 career games as a Pioneer.
Scoring Champion (Conference-Only):
F Austin McIlmurray – Senior – Sacred Heart University (Coquitlam Express)
McIlmurray, voted to the All-Conference First Team, scored the most points in Atlantic Hockey with 31 on the season. Those 31 points included a league-leading 17 goals along with 14 assists. He also led the league with 11 power-play goals and tied for first nationally in that category. He also scored three game-winners along with a hat trick in a breakout senior season.
Rookie of the Year:
F Alex Newhook – Freshman – Boston College (Victoria Grizzlies)
Newhook finished second among all league players in conference scoring with 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 24 games, while leading the league with a plus-25 on-ice rating. His 15 goals were second among all skaters, including four game-winners. The St. John’s, N.L. native paced all Hockey East freshmen in goals (15), points (33), points per game (1.38), shorthanded goals (1), game-winning goals (4), and on-ice rating (+25.) He was also second in faceoff percentage, going 122-105 at the dot for a 53.7 per cent efficiency. Newhook finished the regular season riding a 12-game point streak, picking up 10 goals and 13 assists over that span.
Forward of the Year:
F Jordan Kawaguchi – Junior – University of North Dakota (Chilliwack Chiefs)
A First-Team All-NCHC selection, Kawaguchi is the first North Dakota player to claim NCHC Forward of the Year. The undrafted free agent was the top-scoring forward in NCHC play and was second in conference scoring overall with 30 points in 22 games. The UND assistant captain tallied seven goals and 23 assists in NCHC play, while his 1.36 points per game led the conference. Kawaguchi recorded 16 of his NCHC points on the power play, tops among forwards, while firing 44 shots on goal and posting a +5 plus/minus. He’s also a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
Defensive Defenceman of the Year:
D Colton Poolman – Senior – University of North Dakota (Penticton Vees)
Poolman followed in his brother Tucker’s footsteps in capturing the award. The two-time UND captain played in 21 conference games this season, blocking 26 shots while posting a +9 plus/minus. He committed only one minor penalty in conference play all season, while helping North Dakota to a NCHC-best 2.04 goals against per game facing NCHC foes. Poolman also anchored a penalty kill unit that finished first in NCHC play with an 86.9 per cent kill rate. Offensively, he chipped in 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in conference games and led the Fighting Hawks to the Penrose Cup as regular-season champions.
Rookie of the Year:
F Lucas Sowder – Freshman – Minnesota State University (Wenatchee Wild)
Sowder led all WCHA rookies in scoring this season with 41 points on six goals and 25 assists in 31 games to finish fifth nationally in freshman scoring. The Trinity, Fla., native also led league newcomers in assists (25), assists per game (0.81), points per game (1.00), game-winning goals (three) and plus/minus (+15). Sowder was also a four-time WCHA Rookie of the Week honoree this season and was the league’s Rookie of the Month in October, when he debuted with a league rookie-leading nine points, two goals, seven assists, 1.17 assists per game, 1.50 points per game and+9 rating.
Student Athlete of the Year:
D Edwin Hookenson – Senior – Minnesota State University (Nanaimo Clippers)
A double-major in Accounting and Finance, the Lampman, Sask., native boasts a cumulative GPA of 3.968 and is a seven-time Minnesota State Dean’s List honoree. He was a 2018-19 CoSIDA Academic All-American, the 2020 Maverick Achievement Award winner and a three-time WCHA All-Academic and WCHA Scholar-Athlete selection. On the ice this season, Hookenson finished his senior season with 13 points on three goals and 10 assists and tied for the WCHA blueliner lead in game-winning goals with two.