Hockey is a team game and, not coincidentally, individual awards are so very often team awards.
Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders would certainly agree with that notion.
“It’s a pretty special feeling,” said the Calgary native, who on Tuesday was the recipient of the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League goaltender of the year.
“A lot of credit goes to my teammates back in Prince Albert and the coaching staff and my goalie coaches, Mike Brodeur and Kelly Guard,” he added, following the league’s awards luncheon and presentations at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, formerly the Sheraton Red Deer.
“They’ve been with me for quite some time and it’s a special feeling to share this with them.”
His fourth WHL season was by far Scott’s best, as he posted a 1.83 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and a win-loss record of 38-9 with eight shutouts for the powerhouse Raiders.
“This season has been about the mental side, the consistency and just a winning attitude I think,” he said of his progression.
The Raiders finished first overall during the 2018-19 season with 112 points (54-10-2-2). Scott and his teammate eligible to return last fall could see it coming last spring when P.A. stretched the eventual Eastern Conference finalst Moose Jaw Warriors to seven games in a playoff series.
“At the end of the last season we all knew we could do something special the next year, having that experine of losing against Moose Jaw last year,” said Scott. “We were able to draw on that and use it to our advantage.”
He was, therefore, not surprised when the Raiders embarked on an early-season roll and played at a high level nearly the entire season.
“We knew what we could do, it was just a matter of doing it,” said the six-foot-three netminder.
The Raiders haven’t slowed down during the post-season and advanced to the WHL championship series on Sunday with a win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Raiders will take on the Western Conference champion Vancouver Giants in the best-of-seven final starting on Friday in Prince Albert.
“It’s two very good teams going at it in the finals and we’re excited for it,” said Scott.
The 20-year-old currently sports the top GAA in the playoffs, 1.85, and is also tops in save percentage at .930.
While he’s not looking past the WHL final series challenge, Scott, a third-round pick of the Maple Leafs in the 2017 NHL entry draft, will be in Toronto next season as he’ll start his pro career with the AHL Marlies.
“I’ve had a taste of it once,” he said, referring to a one-game stint with the Marlies last spring. “The speed that the plays are being made and just the overall speed of the (pro) game is something that I will have to get used to.
“But I have all summer to work on it.”
Portland Winterhawks forward Joachim Blichfeld was honoured as the WHL’s player of the year, picking up the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy in the process. The Eastern nominee for the award was Edmonton Oil Kings forward Trey Fix-Wolansky.
Blichfeld was also the recipient of the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s top scorer. He scored 53 goals and added 61 assists for 114 points in 68 regular-season games.
Other award recipients:
Defenceman of the year (Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy) — Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs.
Runner-up — Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors.
Rookie of the year (Jim Piggot Memorial Trophy)— Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw Warriors.
Runner-up — Lassi Thomson, Kelowna Rockets.
Most sportsmanlike player (Brad Hornung Trophy) — Justin Almeida, Moose Jaw Warriors.
Runner-up — Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks.
Scholastic player of the year (Daryl K.(Doc) Seamans Memorial Trophy) — Dustin Wolf, Everett Silvertips.
Runner-up — Jakob Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors.
WHL humanitarian of the year (Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy) — Will Warm, Edmonton Oil Kings.
Runner-up — Jared Dmytriw, Vancouver Giants.
WHL coach of the year (Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy) — Marc Habscheid, Prince Albert Raiders.
Runner-up — Michael Dyck, Vancouver Giants.
WHL executive of the year (Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy) — Curtis Hunt, Prince Albert Raiders.
Runner-up — Garry Davidson, Everett Silvertips.
WHL business award — Everett Silvertips.
Runner-up — Lethbridge Hurricanes.
WHL scholastic team of the year — Portland Winterhawks.
WHL official of the year (Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy) — Brett Iverson.
WHL regular season champions (Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy) — Prince Albert Raiders.