Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that Kamloops Blazers defenceman Olen Zellweger has been awarded the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL Defenceman of the Year for the 2022-23 season presented by RE/MAX.
The Anaheim Ducks prospect earned Defenceman of the Year honours for the second consecutive season on the strength of a 32-goal, 80-point regular season.
“I am very honoured to receive the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as WHL Defenceman of the Year,” said Zellweger. “Congratulations to all the other nominees for having great seasons.
“I want to thank the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers, my teammates, coaching staff, parents and everyone who supported me this season. Without them, it would not have been possible.”
Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy Finalists
Central Division – Christoffer Sedoff, Red Deer Rebels
East Division – Stanislav Svozil, Regina Pats
U.S. Division – Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds
Zellweger, who was acquired by the Kamloops Blazers from the Everett Silvertips January 8, set new personal bests in goals and points, leading all Western Conference defencemen in scoring over the course of the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season.
The product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. also won a gold medal with Canada’s entry at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in January.
Zellweger becomes the sixth back-to-back winner of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy, joining Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs, 2018-19 and 2019-20), Kris Russell (Medicine Hat Tigers, 2005-06 and 2006-07), Dion Phaneuf (Red Deer Rebels, 2003-04 and 2004-05), Nolan Baumgartner (Kamloops Blazers, 1994-95 and 1995-96) and Glen Wesley (Portland Winter Hawks, 1985-86 West Division and 1986-87 West Division).
This season marks the sixth occasion in which a Kamloops Blazer has been named WHL Defenceman of the Year. In addition to Zellweger, the Blazers have also been recognized during the 1999-2000 (Micki DuPont), 1995-96 (Nolan Baumgartner), 1994-95 (Nolan Baumgartner), 1990-91 (Darryl Sydor) and 1987-88 (Greg Hawgood) seasons.
The Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy recognizes a WHL defenceman who has demonstrated the best all-around ability at his position during the WHL Regular Season.
Born in Saskatoon, Sask., Hunter is honoured for his role in the establishment and sustained success of the WHL. Dedicated and enthusiastic to growing Major Junior hockey, Hunter served as the Owner, General Manager, and Coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings in addition to being a co-founder of the league.
Along with long-time friend, the late Scotty Munro, the pair helped to lead the league’s growth through its formative years.
The 2023 WHL Awards were voted upon by WHL General Managers and members of the media.
Winners of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy (since 2003)
|2022-23||Olen Zellweger, Kamloops Blazers|
|2021-22||Olen Zellweger, Everett Silvertips|
|2020-21||Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings|
|2019-20||Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs|
|2018-19||Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs*|
|2017-18||Kale Clague, Moose Jaw Warriors|
|2016-17||Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds|
|2015-16||Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings*|
|2014-15||Shea Theodore, Seattle Thunderbirds|
|2013-14||Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks|
|2012-13||Brenden Kichton, Spokane Chiefs|
|2011-12||Alex Petrovic, Red Deer Rebels|
|2010-11||Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades|
|2009-10||Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets|
|2008-09||Jonathon Blum, Vancouver Giants*|
|2007-08||Karl Alzner, Calgary Hitmen*|
|2006-07||Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers*|
|2005-06||Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers|
|2004-05||Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels|
|2003-04||Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels|
|2002-03||Jeff Woywitka, Red Deer Rebels|
* – also selected as Canadian Hockey League Defenceman of the Year
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.