The Swift Current Broncos had several legitimate choices for their team MVP award this year.
Captain Glenn Gawdin took the nod as Most Valuable Player and co-winner of the coach's choice award with defenceman Max Lajoie.
“It's a huge honour,” Gawdin said. “Even the previous guys that have won it are some very high end guys. It's a tremendous honour.”
Gawdin scored a career high 26 goals and 58 points in an injury shortened 52 games as a 19-year-old.
“Pretty good when I was in the lineup,” Gawdin said. “Still had some injury trouble. I thought I came back strong and healthy. Probably one of the better teams that I've been a part of. A pretty good year and hopefully it's not ending soon.”
"With this year's team and the veteran guys we have it's almost impossible to pick one guy," said Broncos assistant coach Jamie Heward. "We felt that they both contributed in big ways. One as a forward in Gawdin in how he handles himself and how he's really become a good hockey player and a pro. Max on the back end is our leader back there. Both had really good seasons. Gawdin battled back from an injury and Max has really taken the next step to becoming a really good defenceman."
The Broncos were a better offensive team this season with Tyler Steenbergen hitting 90 points, Aleksi Heponiemi had 86, Ryley Lindgren added 74 points and Lane Pederson 65. They finished with 247 goals which is an increase of 58 over last season's team.
They are going to need that offensive depth in a first round series against Moose Jaw.
“I think it's going to be a good series,” Gawdin said. “Physicality, speed and all that. We know what they give and what they have. If we worry about ourselves and trust our systems we will have a better chance of winning.”
Gawdin knows they will have to put a lot of pressure on Warriors goaltender Zach Sawchenko who was one of the best in the WHL this season.
“Just lots of shots on him,” Gawdin said. “Just kind of create a storm in front of the net. It doesn't always have to be the prettiest goals. That's playoff hockey just around the crease and try to get him moving.”
The Broncos sold out Friday night's regular season home finale and had a strong contingent of fans on Saturday in Moose Jaw. Their captain noticed and appreciate the noise from their sold out barn.
“It's awesome,” Gawdin noted. “This place is pretty electric with that many fans. We're riding that into the playoffs and that's going to help us a ton.”
Games 1 and 2 of the playoffs are in Moose Jaw on Friday and Saturday. The Broncos are selling fan bus tickets to those games at the Stable. You can also pick up your tickets for games 3 and 4 in Swift Current.
Broncos 2016-17 Award Winners
Julie Forst Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player: Glenn Gawdin
Swift Sanitary Services Fans Most Popular Player: Tyler Steenbergen
Innovation Credit Union Coach's Choice Award: Glenn Gawdin and Max Lajoie
Pioneer Co-op Most Improved Player: Sahvan Khaira
RBC Dominion Securities Chairman of the Boards: Glenn Gawdin
Charlotte Letkeman Memorial Award for Desire and Sportsmanship: Kaden Elder
Western Financial Group Players Most Popular Player: Jordan Papirny
Pattison Agriculture King of the Road: Lane Pederson
Most Stars Award: 1st – Tyler Steenbergen, 2nd – Aleksi Heponiemi, 3rd – Glenn Gawdin
Tom Ham Memorial Trophy, Top Defenseman: Max Lajoie
Trophy Towne Most Sportsmanlike Player: Tyler Steenbergen
Gordon May Memorial Trophy, Top Scholastic Achievement: Dom Schmiemann
Swift Current Hockey Hounds Humanitarian Award: Conner Chaulk
MacBean Tessem Trophy, Top Scorer: Tyler Steenbergen
Standard Motors Rookie of the Year: Aleksi Heponiemi
Warren’s Funeral Home Award for Leadership and Maturity: Ryan Graham