Portland Winterhawks forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has been named the WHL’s Western Conference Player of the Year, nominating him for the Western Hockey League’s Four Broncos Memorial Award as Player of the Year.
Bjorkstrand led all WHL players in goals (63) and points (118) during the regular season. He was a unanimous selection to the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team, won three consecutive WHL Player of the Month Awards in January, February and March, and was voted by his teammates as the Winterhawks’ Most Valuable Player.
The Eastern Conference nominee is Tim McGauley of the Brandon Wheat Kings. The winner will be announced at the WHL Awards Ceremony in Calgary, Alberta on May 6.
“It’s a prestigious honor for Oliver to be nominated for the Four Broncos Memorial Award,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Jamie Kompon. “Oliver represents everything you look for in a player, and his historic season makes him a great candidate for the WHL Player of the Year Award.”
Bjorkstrand’s incredible season included reaching 50 goals in 50 games, becoming the first WHL player to accomplish the feat since Medicine Hat’s Emerson Etem in 2011-12. It also secured his second straight 50-goal season, making him the first Hawk with successive 50-goal seasons since Dennis Holland did so in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 campaigns.
His 63 goals made him the first Winterhawk to score 60 since Lonny Bohonos in 1993-94. Bjorkstrand also etched his name in the team record book with a 12-game goal streak from January 30 – March 6 to break a record set by Tony Currie in the team’s inaugural season in 1976-77. Bjorkstrand scored eight shorthanded goals to break Holland’s single season record that had stood since 1988-89, and became the franchise leader among import players in career games played (193), goals (144), assists (146) and points (290).
Bjorkstrand was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft, and saw preseason action with the Blue Jackets at the start of the season. He also represented his native Denmark at the World Junior Championship this year and led them to winning their first game in the tournament in the country’s history.
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