First off…congratulations to rookie forward Nino Niederreiter for being named to the WHL Western Conference Second Team All-Star squad as it was announced today by the WHL.
Niederreiter posted 36-24-60 in 65 games, finishing second amongst rookies in goals scored and seventh in rookie scoring in the WHL this season.
Niederreiter was the only Hawk to be honored in the post-season awards.
Forgive me as I go on a bit of a rant, but I fail to see how Mike Johnston was not named the Western Conference nominee for Coach of the Year for 2009-10.
No offense to Craig Hartsburg, his Everett Silvertip squad had a tremendous season, but no team has made the strides that the Winterhawks made in 2009-10.
The Hawks win total increased from 19 to 44 and the point total went from 43 to 91 in one season. Everett increased their win total from 27 to 46 and points from 63 to 97. For Johnston, that is six more wins and 14 more points than Hartsburg, all while having one of the youngest teams in the league.
For Johnston to get snubbed for this honor is an injustice, IMO.
Other Hawks that I thought might get honored, but didn’t, were:
Chris Francis for Most Sportsmanlike Player — Francis finished the season with 82 points and only 20 penalty minutes having played in all 72 games. The honor went to Spokane d-man Jared Spurgeon who had 51 points and 18 penalty minutes in 54 games. Francis averaged .28 PIM’s per game to Spurgeon’s .33. It must have been the one extra roughing minor that Francis took to put Spurgeon ahead of him (Francis had 3 on the season, Spurgeon had 2).
Niederreiter or Ryan Johansen for Rookie of the Year — Shane McColgan was selected for this and I have no issue with that, but Niederreiter and Johansen were, or should have been, in the running as well.
You can see the entire list of the selections here...