WHL AWARDS: Zellweger wins U.S. Division Defenseman, Player of the Year

EVERETT, Wash. — Everett Silvertips defenseman Olen Zellweger has been named both U.S. Division Defenseman of the Year and overall Player of the Year at the Western Hockey League’s Division Awards on Thursday afternoon.

Zellweger, an ’03-born Fort Saskatchewan, AB native, led all WHL defensemen in scoring with 14 goals and 64 assists in 55 games played. His 64 assists were second-most in the WHL behind only Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, and were also just three less than the Silvertips’ franchise record of 67 set by Patrick Bajkov in 2017-18.

The Anaheim Ducks prospect also led all U.S. Division skaters in plus-minus (+45, T-third best amongst WHL d-men) and finished tied for fourth in the league in powerplay points with 34. He led all divisional defensemen in shots-on-goal (229, T-third most amongst WHL d-men). His 1.42 points-per-game average ranks ninth overall amongst all WHL skaters. Additionally, he is one of only three U.S. Division defensemen to have recorded a short-handed goal this season.

He also shattered the Everett franchise record for points in a single season by a defenseman, a mark previously set by Kevin Davis in 2017-18 with 65.

“Olen is one of the best players I’ve seen in some time,” commented Silvertips head coach/general manager Dennis Williams. “He drives our offense, he’s unbelievable quarterbacking our powerplay, work ethic beyond belief. He cares for his teammates. He’s just an unbelievable athlete. His hockey IQ and skill, his compete and his attention to detail off the ice is what separates him.”

Zellweger was one of three Silvertips named to a World Junior Championships roster during the season, representing Hockey Canada on the blueline. By season’s end, he had also earned Co-MVP and Most Dedicated Player honors at the Silvertips Team Awards Ceremony on Apr. 8 as determined by the Silvertips’ coaching staff.

Selected 34th overall in the second round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Zellweger has amassed 18 goals and 85 assists for 103 career points in 125 career games played.

Zellweger is now a finalist for the WHL’s Four Broncos Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s Player of the Year. Only one Silvertip has earned the award before, that being goaltender Carter Hart in 2017-18. He is also a finalist for the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy for WHL Defenseman of the Year, an honor never before won by an Everett Silvertips player.

About the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy

The Four Broncos Memorial Trophy is the most prestigious award of the WHL and recognizes the player whose performance is deemed to be the most outstanding during the WHL Regular Season.

On December 30, 1986, the Swift Current Broncos were involved in a tragic bus crash while travelling to a game in Regina. Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff lost their lives as a result of the crash. The Broncos have posthumously retired the numbers of all four players.

The Four Broncos Memorial Trophy serves as a constant memory in honour of the four players to this day.

Winners of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy / WHL Player of the Year (since 2001)
2020-21 – Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg ICE
2019-20 – Adam Beckman, Spokane Chiefs
2018-19 – Joachim Blichfeld, Portland Winterhawks
2017-18 – Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips
2016-17 – Sam Steel, Regina Pats
2015-16 – Dryden Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors
2014-15 – Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks
2013-14 – Sam Reinhart, Kootenay ICE
2012-13 – Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos
2011-12 – Brendan Shinnimin, Tri-City Americans *
2010-11 – Darcy Kuemper, Red Deer Rebels
2009-10 – Jordan Eberle, Regina Pats *
2008-09 – Brett Sonne, Calgary Hitmen
2007-08 – Karl Alzner, Calgary Hitmen
2006-07 – Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2005-06 – Justin Pogge, Calgary Hitmen
2004-05 – Eric Fehr, Brandon Wheat Kings
2003-04 – Cam Ward, Red Deer Rebels
2002-03 – Josh Harding, Regina Pats
2001-02 – Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars
2000-01 – Justin Mapletoft, Red Deer Rebels

* Also named CHL Player of the Year

About the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy

The Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy recognizes a WHL defenceman who has demonstrated the best all-around ability at his position during the WHL Regular Season.

Born in Saskatoon, Sask., Hunter is honoured for his role in the establishment and sustained success of the WHL. Dedicated and enthusiastic to growing Major Junior hockey, Hunter served as the Owner, General Manager, and Coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings in addition to being a co-founder of the league.

Along with long-time friend, the late Scotty Munro, the pair helped to lead the league’s growth through its formative years.

Winners of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy / WHL Defenceman of the Year (since 2001)
2020-21 – Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings
2019-20 – Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs
2018-19 – Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs *
2017-18 – Kale Clague, Moose Jaw Warriors
2016-17 – Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds
2015-16 – Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings *
2014-15 – Shea Theodore, Seattle Thunderbirds
2013-14 – Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks
2012-13 – Brenden Kichton, Spokane Chiefs
2011-12 – Alex Petrovic, Red Deer Rebels
2010-11 – Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades
2009-10 – Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets
2008-09 – Jonathon Blum, Vancouver Giants *
2007-08 – Karl Alzner, Calgary Hitmen *
2006-07 – Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers *
2005-06 – Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2004-05 – Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2003-04 – Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2002-03 – Jeff Woywitka, Red Deer Rebels
2001-02 – Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars *
2000-01 – Christian Chartier, Prince George Cougars

* Denotes CHL Defenceman of the Year

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