The captains of the two Manitoba-based Western Hockey League teams ran away with the majority of the league’s year-end awards. Made through a series of announcements, the WHL began by naming its divisional award winners, before going on to release the names of its league-wide recipients.
As voted upon by the league’s general managers and head coaches, Winnipeg’s Peyton Krebs took the East Division’s Player of the Year award, while Brandon’s Braden Schneider was presented with the East Division’s Defenceman of the Year trophy. Krebs was also named as the East Division’s Top Scorer – which was not something that required a vote.
Within the British Columbia Division, Manitoba’s Trent Miner was named the Goaltender of the Year. While in the United States Division, fellow Manitoban Nick Cicek was presented with the Defenceman of the Year tag.
Following each division having named its top players, the league then voted upon its top defenceman, forward, goaltender and rookie, while also naming its most sportsmanlike and highest scorer. Of the aforementioned awards, Krebs took the Player of the Year and highest scoring player, while Schneider was named as the WHL’s Defenceman of the Year.
And again, not requiring a vote, Krebs took the WHL’s 2020-21 Top Scorer award with 13 goals and 43 points in 24 games. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect had a 23-game point-scoring streak, which saw him fail to produce a point in just the season-opener, before picking up his 43 total points over a span of 23 games to finish the season. The Wheat Kings’ Ben McCartney finished second with 37 points
“The Four Broncos Memorial Trophy (Player of the Year award) is the most honourable recognition of a player’s commitment and outstanding achievement in hockey,” said Michael Kopke of KIA Canada. “We congratulate Peyton Krebs for winning the Player of the Year award and we can’t wait to see more of him on the ice for years to come.”
“On behalf of all the REALTORS of RE/MAX of Western Canada, we congratulate Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings on this tremendous achievement,” said Elaine Langhout, Director of Regional Advertising for RE/MAX of Western Canada. “We know that your hometown of Prince Albert must be super proud as well and we wish you well on your future hockey journey and wherever life takes you. Our sincere congrats Braden!”
“Kubota Canada is thrilled to be the presenting sponsor for the WHL 2020-21 Top Scorer award. Even though the season was abbreviated, we saw some great performances this season and it gives me great pleasure on behalf of Kubota’s employees and the Kubota dealers across Canada to congratulate Peyton Krebs as this year’s WHL Top Scorer!,” said Catherine O’Brien, Brand Manager for Kubota Canada Ltd. “Well done, Peyton!”
Brandon’s Miner ultimately lost out to Everett Silvertips’ star netminder Dustin Wolf for the league-wide Goaltender of the Year award, while Winnipeg’s Cicek fell to Schneider as the league’s Defenceman of the Year. Connor Bedard was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
*Biographies from the WHL
Forward Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg ICE): The 20-year-old ICE captain led the WHL in both assists (30) and points (43), setting a franchise record by recording points in 23 consecutive games. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound product of Okotoks, Alta. had five games in which he recorded three or more points during the 2020-21 season. The first-overall selection from the 2016 WHL Draft and Vegas Golden Knights prospect has tallied 231 points (62G-169A) in 199 WHL regular season games.
Defenceman Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings): The 19-year-old product of Prince Albert, Sask. led the Wheat Kings from the blue line, totalling 27 points (5G-22A) in 22 games to finish third in scoring among WHL blueliners, his 15 power-play assists were second-best in the WHL. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenceman, and New York Rangers prospect has recorded 115 points (21G-94A) in 207 WHL regular season games and is currently competing for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia.
Goaltender Trent Miner (Vancouver Giants): Miner finished fourth among WHL goaltenders in goals-against average (2.16) while sporting a 7-8-0-0 record during the 2020-21 WHL season. The 20-year-old Brandon, Man. product finished the season with four shutouts, giving him a share of the top mark in the WHL, all while setting the Giants franchise record shutout minutes streak at 234 minutes and 31 seconds. The 6-foot-1, 179-pound Colorado Avalanche prospect holds a career 48-28-3-2 record, 2.49 GAA, 0.910 SV%, and eight shutouts in 84 career WHL regular season appearances.
Defenceman Nick Cicek (Portland Winterhawks): The 21-year-old Winterhawks captain set career highs in goals, assists and points during the 2020-21 WHL season, registering 21 points (5G-16A) from 24 games played. A 6-foot-3, 201-pound product of Winnipeg, Man., Cicek led all U.S. division blueliners in scoring. Cicek graduates from the WHL having recorded 48 points (9G-39A) in 138 WHL regular season games.