Five Spokane Chiefs were honored by the Western Hockey League as they named Western Conference award winners on Wednesday morning. Head Coach Don Nachbaur was named the Conference’s Coach of the Year Finalist while James Reid secured the Conference’s Goaltender of the Year honor and Tyler Johnson the Conference’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.
Both Reid and Johnson were joined by defenseman Jared Cowen on the Western Conference First All-Star Team marking the first time that three Chiefs earned the post-season honor. Brenden Kichton, the highest scoring defenseman in the WHL with 81 points, was named to the second all-star team. Kichton finished the season with a team high +55.
Nachbaur, a finalist for the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Coach of the Year, has previously won the league honor twice before; 1995 with Seattle and 2008 with Tri-City. In his first season in Spokane Nachbaur led the Chiefs to a 48-18-4-2 record and 102 points, third all-time in franchise history for both categories. He now has 479 career wins, sixth all-time in WHL history.
Johnson’s 53 goals led the WHL and his 115 points were just one point behind Medicine Hat’s Linden Vey for the league lead. The Spokane native was named the WHL Player of the Week on January 24th (two goals and eight assists in four games) and the December Player of the Month (11 goals and 22 points in 11 games). It marks the second year in a row that a Chief has been named a finalist for the Brad Hornung Trophy as the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player after Jared Spurgeon was named the Western Conference’s nominee last year.
Cowen, a second team all-star a season ago, finished the year with a career high 18 goals, 30 assists and 48 points. His +44 was also a career high and second on the Chiefs. Cowen is just the third defenseman from Spokane to earn a first team honor as he joins Bryan McCabe (1994) and Kurt Sauer (2002) as the only Chiefs to have been named to the team.
Reid finished fourth in the WHL with a 2.58 goals against average and second only to teammate Mac Engel in the Western Conference. The 20-year-old finished the regular season with a 35-9-2-1 record and four shutouts. Reid is the fifth Chief goaltender named to the Conference All-Star team and the first since Barry Brust in 2002.
Four previous times two Chiefs have been named as First Team All-Stars, including last year when Mitch Wahl and Kyle Beach were named to the team.
The WHL Player of the Year finalists will be announced on Wednesday, April 21st, 2011.
The WHL Western Conference All-Star Teams are as follows:
WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAMS
FIRST ALL-STAR TEAM
Goaltender – James Reid (Calgary, AB), Spokane Chiefs
Defenseman – Tyson Barrie (Victoria, BC), Kelowna Rockets
Defenseman – Jared Cowen (Allan, SK), Spokane Chiefs
Forward – Brendan Gallagher (Delta, BC), Vancouver Giants
Forward – Tyler Johnson (Spokane, WA), Spokane Chiefs
Forward – Ryan Johansen (Port Moody, BC), Portland Winterhawks
SECOND ALL-STAR TEAM
Goaltender – Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, MB), Seattle Thunderbirds
Defenseman – Brenden Kichton (Spruce Grove, AB), Spokane Chiefs
Defenseman – Ryan Murray (White City, SK), Everett Silvertips
Forward – Brendan Shinnimin (Winnipeg, MB), Tri-City Americans
Forward – Brendan Ranford (Edmonton, AB), Kamloops Blazers
Forward – Ryan Howse (Prince George, BC), Chilliwack Bruins