The Western Hockey League announced on Wednesday named the Eastern and Western Conference individual award winners for the 2017-18 season.
Swift Current Broncos Aleksi Heponiemi was named the Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player.
A product of Tampere, Finland, Heponiemi enjoyed a marvelous season for the Swift Current Broncos, finishing first in the WHL in assists with 90 and third overall in points, amassing 118 in just 57 games played. His efforts helped the finished second in the WHL’s East Division standings and a trip to the postseason for the second consecutive year.
Being a key contributor in all situations, Heponiemi’s 37 power play assists was tied for first amongst all WHL skaters while the 18-year-old also finished with a plus-42 rating and only collecting 28 penalty minutes on 14 minor infractions.
This marks the second time in two seasons that Heponiemi has claimed a league award as he was named the WHL’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 campaign.
Drafted 10th overall in the first round of the 2016 CHL Import Draft, Heponiemi was selected by the Florida Panters in the second round, 40th overall at the 2017 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old Heponiemi is eligible for the League award at the 2018 WHL Awards in Red Deer, AB on Wednesday, May 2nd.
Heponiemi was also named to the WHL’s Eastern Conference First All-Star Team along with Broncos captain and Calgary Flames prospect Glenn Gawdin. Furthermore, New Jersey Devils prospect Colby Sissons and Arizona Coyotes prospect Tyler Steenbergen were named to the Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team, giving the Broncos a WHL-high four skaters named to All-Star teams.
Round One of the 2018 WHL Playoffs gets underway on Friday, March 23rd when the Broncos welcome the Regina Pats for Game 1 at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex. Puck drop is slated for 7:00pm MT.