WHL announces Division Nominees for Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy – Olen Zellweger the BC Division Nominee

WHL Network

Calgary, Alta. –  The Western Hockey League announced today the 2022-23 Division nominees for the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy awarded annually to the WHL Defenceman of the Year presented by RE/MAX.

All individual WHL Division Award winners will be eligible for the overall WHL Awards, which will be announced from Tuesday, May 2 through Wednesday, May 10. The winner of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy awarded to the WHL Defenceman of the Year will be announced Wednesday, May 10.

WHL Defenceman of the Year Nominees
B.C. Division – Olen Zellweger (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) – Kamloops Blazers
Central Division – Christoffer Sedoff (Helsinki, Finland) – Red Deer Rebels
East Division – Stanislav Svozil (Prerov, Czechia) – Regina Pats
U.S. Division – Kevin Korchinski (Saskatoon, Sask.) – Seattle Thunderbirds

WHL Defenceman of the Year Biographies

Bill Hunter_Zellweger

Olen Zellweger (Kamloops Blazers): The reigning Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy winner, Kamloops Blazers defenceman Olen Zellweger is the WHL B.C. Division Defenceman of the Year. The Anaheim Ducks prospect was acquired by Kamloops from the Everett Silvertips January 8 and proceeded to score 22 goals and 52 points from the Blazers blueline in 32 regular season contests. Overall, the 19-year-old set new personal bests in goals (32) and points (80) which led all Western Conference defencemen. The product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. also won a gold medal with Canada’s entry at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in January. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound rearguard has amassed 183 points (50G-133A) in 180 career WHL regular season games after he was originally selected by the Silvertips in the second round of the 2018 WHL Draft.

Bill Hunter_Sedoff

Christoffer Sedoff (Red Deer Rebels): Red Deer Rebels defenceman Christoffer Sedoff is the WHL Central Division Defenceman of the Year. Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, Sedoff recorded five goals and 51 points from the Rebels blue line during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season and was named to the Central Division First All-Star Team. The 21-year-old, who finished second among Red Deer skaters with 46 assists, signed an entry-level contract with the Vegas Golden Knights in March. In three WHL seasons with the Rebels, the 6-foot-2, 196-pound defender has totalled 131 points (17G-114A) in 185 regular season contests. He was originally selected by Red Deer in the first round of the 2019 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Bill Hunter_Svozil

Stanislav Svozil (Regina Pats): Regina Pats defenceman Stanislav Svozil is the WHL East Division Defenceman of the Year. The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect finished third among League blueliners with 78 points (11G-67A) over his 56 regular season appearances; he also led all WHL defencemen with 39 power-play points. The 20-year-old, who hails from Prerov, Czechia, also captained his home nation to a silver medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in January. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound rearguard was originally selected by Regina in the first round of the 2020 CHL Import Draft and over his two seasons with the Pats has totalled 119 points (21G-98A) in 115 regular season appearances.

Bill Hunter_Korchinski

Kevin Korchinski (Seattle Thunderbirds): Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Kevin Korchinski is the WHL U.S. Division Defenceman of the Year. The product of Saskatoon, Sask. led all Thunderbirds defencemen with a career-best 73 points (11G-62A) while accumulating a plus-minus rating of +50. His 62 assists led all Western Conference blueliners. Korchinski, the seventh-overall selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2022 NHL Draft, helped Canada capture a gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in January. The 18-year-old, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds,  was originally selected by Seattle with the 10th-overall pick in the 2019 WHL Draft and has totalled 148 points (13G-135A) over his 145 appearances with the Thunderbirds.

About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.

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