OHA products take home WHL team hardware

Mar 21, 2016

As the 2015-16 Western Hockey League regular season came to a close, many teams dished out their yearly awards with a handful of Okanagan Hockey Academy products front and centre.

Joe Hicketts was named the Victoria Royals MVP and Top Defenceman after collecting 61 points (8-53-61) in 59 games for the top-ranked Royals this season. The Kamloops, BC product tallied 12 points (6-6-12) in 12 Canadian Sport School Hockey League games with OHA during the 2011-12 season.

Scott Walford was named the Victoria Royals Scholastic Player of the Year. The Coquitlam, BC product amassed 11 points (1-10-11) in 36 games during his rookie season with the Royals. The 6-foot-1 defenceman spent three seasons with OHA from 2012-2015.

Beck Malenstyn was awarded the Calgary Hitmen Scholastic Player of the Year. The White Rock, BC product tallied 25 points (8-17-25) in 70 games with the Hitmen this season. The 18-year-old spent three seasons with OHA from 2011-2014.

Matt Needham took home the Kamloops Blazers Bob Winters Memorial Trophy as the Grinder of the Year. The Penticton, BC product and third-year Blazers captain netted 62 points (23-39-62) in 66 games with Kamloops this season. Needham spent the 2010-11 season with OHA, collecting 13 points (7-6-13) in 10 CSSHL games.

Riley Stadel was given the Kelowna Rockets Humanitarian of the Year award. The Surrey, BC product collected eight points (2-6-8) in 56 games with the Rockets this season, his fourth with the club. Stadel registered six points (4-2-6) in 12 CSSHL games with OHA during the 2011-12 season.

Meanwhile, OHA alum Tyler Soy was handed the WHL Player of the Week for the week ending on March 20. The Cloverdale, BC product recorded nine points (5-4-9) in three games this past week. Soy finished the regular season with 85 points (46-39-85) in 72 games with the Victoria Royals. The 19-year-old collected 19 points (10-9-19) in 12 CSSHL games with OHA during the 2012-13 season.

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Griffin Mendel

At OHA, I had an opportunity to play with some of best players in the country and had coaches that pushed me to be my best, positioning me to play for the Penticton Vees and now the University of Denver.