Sports

BCHL grads score post-season awards

With the NCAA division one men’s hockey tournament starting tonight, conference awards have started rolling in for BCHL graduates.

Ex-Penticton Vee Mike Reilly has been named defensive player of the year in the Big 10 conference. The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect plays for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The ECAC conference has named former Langley Chief Dennis Robertson as co-winner of the best defensive defenceman award. The Carolina Hurricanes draft pick plays for the Brown University Bears.

The Hockey East best defensive defenceman award goes to Josh Manson, a Salmon Arm Silverbacks grad and Anaheim Ducks prospect who played for the Northeastern University Huskies.

Former BCHL scoring champ Mario Puskarich was named the Hockey East rookie of the year. The Langley Rivermen grad had 19 goals and 35 points in 36 games as a freshman with the Vermont Catamounts.

Ex-Penticton Vee Joey LaLeggia scored two awards in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Playing his third season with the University of Denver Pioneers, the Edmonton Oiler hopeful was named offensive defenceman of the year and defenceman of the year.

Former Coquitlam Express netminder Cole Huggins was named WCHA goaltending champion in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He plays for the Minnesota State Mavericks.

Chad Brears, a former Merritt Centennial and current Alabama-Huntsville Charger, was named WCHA student of the year.

BCHL grad Joel Rumpel, a former Vee and current Wisconsin Badger, is among the top 10 finalists in voting for the Hobey Baker award, presented to the most outstanding player in collegiate hockey.

The BCHL has also seen grads sign with NHL teams this year, with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward Mike Zalewski (Vernon Vipers) inking a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

The Boston Bruins signed former Vee and current Clarkson Golden Knight Ben Sexton.

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