(Photo - Jordy Cunningham)

(Photo - Jordy Cunningham)

Kelowna Rockets hand out individual awards

The Rockets open the playoffs in Seattle on Friday night

With the regular season wrapped up and the WHL playoffs about to begin, the Kelowna Rockets handed out their individual team awards after practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Most Valuable Player (MVP): Talyn Boyko

Since being acquired from Tri-City in November, Boyko has been nothing short of special for the Rockets. In 46 games in Kelowna, the New York Rangers prospect went 28-12-1-3 with a 2.79 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage.

Previous winners include: Jamie Benn, Tyson Barrie.

Top Scorer: Colton Dach

The Chicago Blackhawks prospect led the team with 79 points (29 goals, 50 assists) this season as well as powerplay points (27) and shots on goal (274). Prior to the 2019-20 season, the Rockets acquired Dach from the Saskatoon Blades. Dach was drafted by Chicago in the second round of the 2021 NHL entry draft.

Previous winners include: Tyson Barrie.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Cristall

Cristall, who was drafted eighth overall by the Rockets in the WHL Prospects draft in 2020, made quite the impression on the league this season as he tied the Rockets record for points in a season by a 16-year-old with 69 (28 goals, 41 assists). His 28 goals were a team record for his age group He finished third on the team in scoring and isn’t NHL draft-eligible until 2023.

Previous winners include: Alex Edler, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, Tyson Barrie, Jamie Benn, Cal Foote, Nolan Foote, and Mark Liwiski.

Top Defenseman: Jake Lee

Lee led Rockets defensemen and set career highs in goals, assists and points (16 goals, 30 assists = 46 points). He also played in 66 of 68 regular season games.

Previous winners include: Josh Gorges, Shea Weber, Luke Schenn, Tyson Barrie, Madison Bowey, and Cal Foote.

Hollis Pearce Award, Top Defensive Forward: Nolan Flamand

Flamand posted 10 goals and 30 assists (40 points) in 60 games this season with a +19 plus/minus rating and just eight penalty minutes. He also led all Rockets forwards with a faceoff win percentage of 51.9.

Previous winners include: Tyler Spurgeon, Jamie Benn, and Colton Sissons.

Unsung Hero: Mark Liwiski

In his final season with the Rockets, the 20-year-old collected 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists), 115 penalty minutes, and a +15 rating in 63 games this season. He won the Rockets Rookie of the Year award for the 2018-19 season. Liwiski appeared in 205 career WHL games, with 195 of them coming in a Rockets jersey.

Previous winners include: Devante Stephens.

Most Sportsmanlike: Gabriel Szturc

The forward from the Czech Republic played in all but one game during the regular season, scoring 16 goals and adding 25 assists (41 points) while recording only six penalty minutes. The Rockets selected Szturc in the 2021 CHL Import Draft.

Previous winners include: Brandon McMillan, Lucas Johannsen.

Most Improved: Dylan Wightman

In his second season in Kelowna, Wightman didn’t always light the lamp but became a fixture and a leader on the Rockets penalty kill. In 54 games, he collected four goals and 10 assists (14 points) and had a +15 rating.

Previous winners include: Kole Lind.

Top Plus/Minus: John Babcock

Babcock led the Rockets with a +28 rating this season while adding 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) in 57 games this season. The 18-year-old is still technically a rookie since he only appeared in nine games in the previous season.

Previous winners include: Shea Weber, Alex Edler, Tyson Barrie, Brandon McMillan, Colton Sissons, Cal Foote.

Humanitarian: Jackson DeSouza

DeSouza was lauded for his efforts off the ice, as he is involved with the Hockey Gives Blood campaign, whose vision is to inspire and teach people in the hockey community about the importance of giving blood and stem cell research. He had one goal and nine assists in 50 games this season.

Previous winners include: Ryan Cuthbert, Tyler Spurgeon.

Scholastic: Marcus Pacheco

Pacheco received this award for his academic efforts and results throughout the season. In 57 games, he collected three goals and 11 assists (14 points) this season.

Previous winners include: Tyler Spurgeon, Tyler Myers, Cal Foote.

In addition, the three graduating players (20-year-olds) Lee, Liwiski and Tyson Feist were presented with framed photos from their time with the organization.

(Photo - Steve Dunsmoor)

The Rockets open the WHL playoffs in Seattle on Friday, April 22. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. at the accesso ShoWare Center.

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