Giants’ Casey Pierro-Zabotel named WHL Western Conference Player of the Year

By League Press Release
Calgary, AB – The Western Hockey League today announced the WHL Eastern and Western Conference finalists for the 2008-09 WHL Player of the Year. The two finalists for WHL Player of the Year were determined through voting by General Managers, coaches, broadcast and media representatives of all WHL Member Clubs.
In the WHL’s Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the Player of the Year Nominee is forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Vancouver Giants.
Pierro-Zabotel enjoyed a tremendous season with the Giants, leading them to a fourth straight B.C. Division title on the back of their best regular-season record in franchise history. The 20-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., scored 36 goals and added 79 assists for 115 points in 72 games, winning the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season scorer. Additionally, <strong>Pierro-Zabotel posted an outstanding +62 rating along with 52 penalty minutes.
Pierro-Zabotel’s 79 assists led all WHL players and marked the highest assist total by a WHL players since the 1996-97 season while his 115 points were the most by a WHL player since the 2000-01 campaign. The 6’2”, 210-lb center led all WHL players with 40 power play assists while his +62 rating led all WHL forwards in that category.
Having joined the Giants from the BCHL in November 2007, Pierro-Zabotel has racked up 55 goals and 163 points in 121 career WHL regular-season contests. Pierro-Zabotel, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, was named to the 2009 WHL Western Conference First All Star Team.
In the WHL’s Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions, the Player of the Year Nominee is forward Brett Sonne of the Calgary Hitmen
Sonne enjoyed an outstanding 2008-09 WHL season, helping the Hitmen capture the Scotty Munro trophy after posting second-best regular-season record in WHL history. The 19-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C., scored 48 goals and added 52 assists for 100 points in 62 games for the Hitmen, easily surpassing his previous career-best totals. In addition, Sonne posted a +39 rating to go with 58 penalty minutes.
Sonne’s 48 goals tied him for second among all WHL players while his 100 points placed him third in the WHL scoring race. On top of that, Sonne led all WHL players with 11 game-winning goals and finished fifth among WHL players with 16 power play goals. The 6’0”, 184-lb center also proved to be one of the most consistent offensive forces in the WHL, having been held off the score sheet in just 14 of his 62 games.
Sonne was the Hitmen’s 1st round pick, 11th overall, at the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft, and has played 232 career regular-season games over four seasons in Calgary. The St. Louis Blues prospect was named to the 2009 WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team.
The WHL also announced today the WHL Eastern and Western Conference finalists for the WHL Humanitarian of the Year award and the WHL Marketing and Communications award.
The WHL’s Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL Humanitarian of the Year award is Ian Barteaux of the Kootenay Ice. The WHL’s Western Conference finalist for the award is Taylor Procyshen of the Tri-City Americans.
The WHL’s Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL Marketing and Communications award is Mike Bortolussi of the Medicine Hat Tigers. The WHL’s Western Conference finalist for the award is Grant Riddle of the Spokane Chiefs.
The recipients of all WHL individual awards will be announced at the 2009 WHL Awards Luncheon, which will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, at Northlands Agricom Hall A on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009. For ticketing information please visit the Edmonton Oil Kings website,
WHL Rookie of the Year, Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Jordan Weal (North Vancouver, BC), Regina Pats
Western Conference – Brett Connolly (Prince George, BC), Prince George Cougars

WHL Goaltender of the Year, Del Wilson Trophy
Eastern Conference – Braden Holtby (Marshall, SK), Saskatoon Blades
Western Conference – Chet Pickard (Winnipeg, MB), Tri-City Americans

WHL Defenceman of the Year, Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Paul Postma (Red Deer, AB), Calgary Hitmen
Western Conference – Jonathon Blum (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) Vancouver, BC
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Brad Hornung Trophy
Eastern Conference – Tyler Ennis (Edmonton, AB) Medicine Hat Tigers
Western Conference – Colin Long (Santa Ana, CA), Kelowna Rockets

WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy
Eastern Conference – Stefan Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) Saskatoon Blades
Western Conference – Tyler Maxwell (Manhattan Beach, CA) Everett Silvertips

WHL Coach of the Year, Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Lorne Molleken, Saskatoon Blades
Western Conference – Don Hay, Vancouver Giants

WHL Executive of the Year, Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Eastern Conference – Kelly Kisio, Calgary Hitmen
Western Conference – Scott Bonner, Vancouver Giants
WHL Regular Season Champions, Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
Calgary Hitmen:   GP – 72          W – 59     L – 9      OTL – 3      SL – 1    Pts – 122
WHL Top Scorer – Bob Clarke Trophy
Casey Pierro-Zabotel – (Kamloops, BC) Vancouver Giants
GP – 72                 G – 36                    A – 79                Pts – 115                      PIM – 52