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AJHL Announces League Award Winners for 2021-22 Season

The Alberta Junior Hockey League, in partnership with RBC, today announced the recipients of the 2021-22 League Awards in seven categories.   The annual awards include Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Outstanding Defenceman, Top Forward, Top Goaltender, Most Dedicated Player and Coach of the Year.

Most Valuable Player- Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy

Brooks Bandits forward and AJHL Scoring Champion, Ryan McAllister, is the 2021-22 AJHL MVP and recipient of the Alberta Old Time Hockey Players trophy.  

With 139 points (57G, 82A), the Western Michigan University commit is the first AJHL player to score over 130 points in a season since the 1997-98 season.   McAllister (London, ON) broke the Bandits franchise record for most points in a season and is just the second Bandit to score 50 goals in a season.   He averaged 2.3 points per game, recorded 42 multi-point games and completed the season with a 12-game point streak.

The third-year Bandit was named as the 2021-22 Team MVP and Top Scorer. McAllister, 20, was selected as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month twice, the CJHL 1st Star of the Month in October 2021, received the Pizza 73 AJHL Player of the Week award four times, and was the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game in 10 games.

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Kash Rasmussen – Bonnyville Pontiacs, Kolby Thornton – Lloydminster Bobcats, Ryan McAllister – Brooks Bandits, Rieger Lorenz – Okotoks Oilers
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Arjun Atwal – Sherwood Park Crusaders

Rookie of the Year – Dick White Trophy

NHL Top Prospect Rieger Lorenz of the Okotoks Oilers is the recipient of the Dick White Trophy as AJHL Rookie of the Year for 2021-22.   The 17 year-old rookie forward was the recipient of three team awards as the Top Forward, Top Scorer and Rookie of the Year.

Lorenz (Calgary, AB) led all rookie forwards in scoring with 85 points (38G, 47A), ranking fifth overall in the AJHL Scoring Race, and setting new team records for points by an Oiler rookie and goals by a rookie.   He was recognized as the Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week four times in his rookie campaign and was awarded as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month in December 2021.   Lorenz was the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game 13 times in the regular season.    He was a finalist for three League Awards, including AJHL MVP and Top Forward.

Lorenz was the highest-ranked NHL Draft prospect in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) after NHL Central Scouting released its Midterm Rankings in January 2022, ranking him as 24th among North American skaters in the agency’s Round One category.   Rieger is committed to the University of Denver (NCAA).

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Jayden Davis – Spruce Grove Saints, Ethan Aucoin – Lloydminster Bobcats, Zach Bookman – Brooks Bandits, Rieger Lorenz – Okotoks Oilers
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Brayden Krieger – Brooks Bandits

Top Forward Award

TJ Hughes of the Brooks Bandits is first recipient of the newly created AJHL Top Forward award after recently earning the AJHL Leading Goal Scorer award.   The award recognizes the player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season.   The 20 year-old forward scored a remarkable 66 goals and 127 points as well as a league leading 10 game winning goals in the regular season.

Hughes (Hamilton, ON) is the first AJHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since the 2000-01 season and set a team record for most goals in a season.   The third-year Bandit was second overall in the AJHL Scoring Race with 127 points and an average of 2.1 points per game with seven hat tricks.   He will enter the AJHL Record Book with the eighth most goals scored in a single season and third in the category of powerplay goals in a single season with 28.

In November 2021, Hughes was selected as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month and the CJHL 2nd Star of the Month as he recorded 30 points in 12 games and extended a 28-game point streak.  He was recognized as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game 15 times in 2021-22.   Hughes was also the recipient of the Brooks Bandits Top Forward award.  

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Caiden Gault – Spruce Grove Saints, Tyler Wallace – Fort McMurray Oil Barons, TJ Hughes – Brooks Bandits, Rieger Lorenz – Okotoks Oilers

Top Goaltender – Friends of Alberta Junior Hockey League Trophy

Kolby Thornton of the Lloydminster Bobcats is the recipient of the Friends of AJHL Trophy as the Top Goaltender for the 2021-22 season.   The annual award is presented to the goalie who demonstrated the greatest ability in his position throughout the season.

Thornton led the AJHL in minutes played (2,515) and games played (43), recorded the most saves of all AJHL goaltenders (1,387), and was tied for second in wins (26).   The 20 year-old posted a regular season record of 26-13-2 and a .913 save percentage, ranking fourth overall in the AJHL.

Thornton (Winnipeg, MB) was also a finalist for the 2021-22 AJHL MVP award in what was his first full season with the Bobcats.      

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Jackson Berry – Drayton Valley Thunder, Kolby Thornton – Lloydminster Bobcats, Andreai Proctor-Ramirez – Canmore Eagles, Jack McNaughton – Okotoks Oilers
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Carter Gylander – Sherwood Park Crusaders

Outstanding Defenceman – W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy, Presented by the Alberta Ford Dealers

NHL Prospect Zach Bookman of the Brooks Bandits has been selected as the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Outstanding Defenceman and recipient of the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy.   The award recognizes the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season.  

Bookman set three League Records in his final games of the regular season and finished third overall in the AJHL Scoring Race with 102 points (21G, 81A).   The Merrimack College commit led all AJHL defencemen and rookies in scoring, setting new AJHL Records for most points by a defenceman (102), most assists by a defenceman (81) and most assists by a rookie (81).

The 19 year-old was recognized twice as the Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week and four times as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week.   Bookman (Syracuse, NY) was also a finalist for AJHL Rookie of the Year and won the team award as Top Defenceman.

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: A.J. Macaulay – Bonnyville Pontiacs, Brett Bamber – Drayton Valley Thunder, Zach Bookman – Brooks Bandits, Robert Kincaid – Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Michael Benning – Sherwood Park Crusaders

Most Dedicated Player – Don McNabb Memorial Trophy

Drumheller Dragons Captain Myles Hilman is the recipient of the Don McNabb Memorial Trophy as Most Dedicated Player.   The award is presented annually to the player voted as the most dedicated to his team.  

“Myles has been instrumental in changing the culture and identity of our dressing room” stated Dragons GM / Head Coach Kevin Hasselberg.   “We appointed Myles as the Captain of our team as a 17-year-old and supported him as he worked hard at changing attitudes, beliefs and values.    Myles’s leadership has created a room reflecting the value of team and togetherness.”

“His work ethic and dedication are second to none and never does Myles take a night off. As the leader, he absorbs the struggles and distributes the successes, putting his teammates first utilizing a servant leadership style.   Myles is driven by his love of the game, his competitiveness, and his dedication to family.”  

“Above all else, Myles expresses gratefulness and extends his appreciation to others, Myles recognizes the privilege it is to

represent an organization that extends beyond just the Junior A team, it reaches further into the community and into the Provincial league that he competes in every night.”

The University of Nebraska-Omaha commit recorded 47 points (24G, 23A) in 47 games and was tied for the team lead in goals.  Hilman (Sylvan Lake, AB) is in his third and final season with the Dragons.  

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Austin Saint – Bonnyville Pontiacs, Nathanial Bierd – Grande Prairie Storm, Myles Hilman – Drumheller Dragons, Connor Bertamini – Calgary Canucks
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Marc Pasemko – Okotoks Oilers

Coach of the Year

Brooks Bandits General Manager and Head Coach Ryan Papaioannou is the 2021-22 AJHL Coach of the Year.   This is the third Coach of the Year award for Papaioannou after previously winning the honour in 2013 and 2019, which also led to his being named 2013 CJHL Coach of the Year.

Papaioannou, 38, has coached his team to a first-place finish for the fifth time, and their fourth 50+ win season, to capture the Dave Duchak Trophy as AJHL Regular Season Champions.   Papaioannou has served as General Manager and Head Coach of the Bandits since 2010 and is a two-time Canadian National Junior A Champion and five-time AJHL champion.

Brooks completed the 2021-22 regular season with a record of 52-6-2 and 106 points.   The Bandits will enter the AJHL Record Book tied for third in the category of most wins (52), tied for sixth overall for fewest losses (6) and tied for fourth in the category of most points (106).   Brooks led the AJHL with 371 goals for, placing them second in the League Record Book behind the 1972-73 Calgary Canucks.

As regular season champions, the Brooks Bandits have earned a round one bye in the 2022 Inter Pipeline AJHL Playoffs and will host their first games on March 18th & 19th as the top seed.

  • 2021-2022 Award Finalists: Eric Thurston – Drayton Valley Thunder, Nigel Dube – Lloydminster Bobcats, Ryan Papaioannou – Brooks Bandits, Kevin Hasselberg – Drumheller Dragons
  • 2019-2020 Award Winner: Tyler Deis – Okotoks Oilers

All award winners are determined through three stages of voting by the General Managers and Coaches of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.   The following League Awards and Scholarships will be announced throughout the 2022 Inter Pipeline AJHL Playoffs.

  • Viterra All-League and All-Rookie Team
  • Viterra Star of the Game Standings Leader – Viterra Cup
  • Stewy Stewart Memorial Award Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy
  • AJHL Executive of the Year – Ken  Bracko  Award  
  • Viterra Salute to Service Volunteer Award – North & South Division Recipients
  • Merit Contractors AJHL Scholarship – North & South Division Recipients
  • Inter Pipeline AJHL Scholarship