Tyson Baillie made the fifth and final season with the Kelowna Rockets the best of his major junior career.
On Sunday at the Rocket’s annual awards ceremony, the 20-year-old centre was acknowledged as the Western Hockey League team’s most valuable player.
Baillie, who tallied a career-high 43 goals and 95 points to lead the team 2015-16, was humbled by the recognition.
“Its a huge honour, especially with the type of players we have on this team,” said Baillie, who was also honoured with the top scorer award. “The names before me on that trophy, I’m honoured…I’ve been part of this organization for five years and they’ve been the best years of my life.”
As much as Baillie was happy to accept the honour, he called injured goaltender Jackson Whistle the team’s key player.
“He was our MVP this year, last year, and in the playoffs. He’s a great goalie, the most consistent I’ve ever played with and the hardest worker I’ve played with.”
Joe Gatenby picked up a pair of awards, as the 19-year-old blue liner was named the Rockets’ top defenseman while also claiming the plus-minus award.
Gatenby is humbled to be in the same company as all of the previous winners of the award, including Shea Weber, Josh Gorges, Tyler Myers and Tyson Barrie.
“It’s such a tremendous honour with those names. It’s great company to be in and something you kind of dream about, you hear all about the Rockets great defensemen.
To be considered the top defenceman this year, I’m really happy they thought it was me.”
Defenceman Cal Foote joined Baillie and Gatenby as a multiple award winner, earning the rookie of the year and scholastic player of the year honours.
The Rockets 2015-16 award winners are:
• MVP and Top Scorer—Tyson Baillie
• Most Sportsmanlike—Rourke Chartier
• Rookie of the Year and Scholastic Player—Cal Foote
• Top Defenceman and Plus-Minus—Joe Gatneby
• Most Improved—Tomas Soustal
• Humanitarian—Riley Stadel
• Unsung Hero—Justin Kirkland
• Top Defensive Forward—Cole Linaker