Johnston, Bartschi Shut-Out at League Awards

The Western Hockey League held it’s annual WHL Awards Luncheon this afternoon in Calgary and the Portland Winterhawks had two individuals up for awards today – Mike Johnston for Executive of the Year award and Sven Bärtschi for Rookie of the Year.  Neither won the title.

Johnston was up against Lorne Molleken who led the Saskatoon Blades to the Scotty Munro Trophy with the WHL best record in the regular season.  He made the trade to get Brayden Schenn as well as adding pieces like Connor Cox, Jake Trask and Marek Viedensky.

Johnston made the deal to bring in Craig Cunningham and added players like William Wrenn during the season.  Both were deserving candidates and congratulations to Lorne Molleken for the honor.

Bärtschi was up against Matt Dumba, the 16 year old defenseman from the Red Deer Rebels.  Dumba had a great year with 15 goals and many big hits as a shut-down type defenseman.

Sven led the WHL rookies in goals, assists, points and a few other categories as an 18 year old rookie.

Now, nothing against Dumba who is a tremendous hockey player, but Bärtschi, in my opinion, got robbed on this one.  Sven’s offensive numbers aside, he played both ends of the ice, played physical and adapted quickly to the North American game.

The award has traditionally gone to North American born players with the last import player to win being Pavel Brendl in 1998-99 from the Calgary Hitmen.   That shouldn’t have a bearing on the award, nor should the fact that Dumba is 16 and Bärtschi is a late birthdate 18.  They are both rookies.

It is a disappointment that Johnston and Bärtschi didn’t win their categories, but both still have an opportunity to bring home the big prize…and that battle continues on Friday night at the Rose Garden at 7:30.

Hope to see you all there…



  1. I am really sick of the WHL overlooking the PWH’s for everything. I can’t believe they gave the award to the Saskatoon Blades GM… okay I realize it’s a “regular season” trophy, but WTH, what Johnston (& rest of coaches/staff) have done in two years should outweigh the fact that SAS won the regular season best-record. And lost in a SWEEP during the first round of the playoffs!!! What a joke… as well as overlooking Baerstchi, who clearly was the most deserving in adapting to the NA style and leading all rookies in a lot of categories!!! OK, I’m done ranting… just don’t get me started on the officiating!!!!

  2. Wow! I’m flabbergasted. Thought Bartschi was a shoo in. As far as Johnson is concerned I’m still wondering why he wasn’t up for coach of the year? Who makes the final call of these awards Andy? You’re right though, we’ll just keep on winning and show ’em all.

  3. one word sums it up……politics

  4. Reminds me of Susan Sarandon’s line in Bull Durham “Honey, would you rather I were making love to him using your name, or making love to you using his name?” Seeing as how Saskatoon, and Red Deer are out of the playoffs I’m happy with where the Winterhawks are at. Awards or no.

  5. Congrats to Matt Dumba, but WHO’S STILL PLAYING HOCKEY??!!

    Andy, about half way through the third period of game 6 Todd said the Chiefs looked “gassed” and you’d noted earlier that the Hawks have been strong in the third period all through the playoffs. What do you think are the top two or three reasons the Chiefs were good for 45 minutes but the Hawks were able to keep it up right to the end?

  6. Easy answer Jeff…Conditioning and Depth…

  7. That’s what I thought–thanks for the confirmation.

  8. Sven is a European player on a US based team. I mean…look at the award winners…predominately Eastern Conference (which, IMHO is a weaker conference) or the Spokane Chiefs. ’nuff said.

  9. Sven Bartschi was the best rookie in the whl by far and was deserving of the award.

  10. Wasn’t Ryan Johansen in the rookie of the year finalist last year as well? This is a tribute to the scouting team, once again, I must eat crow from my statements 2 years ago. Go hawks!

  11. Andy, with the WHL robbing Sven it reminds me of the 05-06 season when the hawks had the number one rookie in Hansen. Did he win the award? No he didn’t, the WHL gave it to the number three rookie Muller. If the WHL wants euros to play in their league, then they need to start giving them their dues when they dominate over the North American players.

  12. what a joke. canadian robbers.
    take that mastercardaward in mississauga instead…

    go hawks!

  13. Not really surprised. Portland rarely gets consideration when we do get nominated for awards. Guess we’ll just have to win the Cup — their names will look much better on there anyway.

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