Winnipeg Ice coach, president win top honours at Western Hockey League awards

The Winnipeg Ice may not have finished this season with a championship, but that hasn’t stopped the team from pocketing a couple awards.

Coach James Patrick has been named Western Hockey League coach of the year, receiving the Dunc McCallum Trophy, while Winnipeg Ice president, general manager and alternate governor Matt Cockell was awarded the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the WHL executive of the year.

“I’m very thankful, very surprised,” Patrick said in a statement to the WHL. “I’m very fortunate I coach a number of good players. I am lucky to be part of this group.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings eliminated the Ice in the WHL eastern conference finals last weekend.

In Patrick’s fifth season as coach, the team had its best regular season yet. They finished with a record of 53-10-3-2 and captured the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL regular season champs.

During Cockell’s tenure since 2017, six Ice players have gone onto be selected in the NHL draft, including two first-round picks in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

“The players, first and foremost, are why we do what we do every day,” Cockell said in a post about receiving the award on the WHL website. “It’s certainly appreciated and motivating.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings were also awarded the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy for the WHL scholastic team of the year. 

“The Wheat Kings have proven to be leaders in the classroom among WHL member clubs, guaranteeing that student athletes meet and exceed their academic potential consistent with the WHL education standards and policies,” reads a statement by the WHL. “They commit to ensuring that their policies and practices enhance educational opportunities for all players.”

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