Pats score big at Western Hockey League awards

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Pats centre named top CHL scorer

The Regina Pats had an impressive showing off the ice Wednesday when the Western Hockey League announced the winners of its annual awards. 

The ceremony at the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary, Alta., honoured the top performances from the WHL's 2016-17 season, including many from Regina.

The Pats' Sam Steel was named WHL Player of the Year.

After being selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Steel showed up to the WHL ready to play.

"Every coach I had growing up has helped me a lot and made me into the player I am today," Steel told the crowd in Calgary.

Steel's 50 goals and 81 assists in 66 games also won him the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL's Top Scorer as well as the CHL's scoring title.

"It's definitely a special moment. It couldn't have been possible without the help of my teammates and coaching staff," he said.  

An 18 year old from Sherwood Park, Alta., narrowly edged out teammate Adam Brooks, last year's top scorer.

"It's awesome to have him as a teammate and a friend," Steel said. "He's a great leader. We're pretty lucky to have him on the team."

Paddock named Coach of the Year 

Connor Hobbs was up for Defenceman of the Year on behalf of the Pats but was bested by his counterpart with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Ethan Bear.

Pats general manager and coach John Paddock won both WHL Coach and Executive of the Year.

In his third season behind the bench for Regina, Paddock led the Pats to their first regular season championship since 1974.

The Pats' 52 wins and 112 points were both franchise records, breaking the previous marks from the 1980-81 season.

"There's a lot of talent there," Paddock said of the current team. "They really are attentive to what we want them to do and I think the experience of last year in the playoffs has made them a really hungry team."

According to the WHL, Paddock also had an impressive year in management, picking up some key draft picks in advance of hosting the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

"It's an incredible honour," said Paddock as he accepted the award for Executive of the Year. "When your peers are involved in the voting and select you, it can't get any better than that."

The Pats also took home the WHL Business Award for what's being called their best regular season in the franchise's 99-year history, earned in part through growth in attendance and sponsorship.

This season, the Pats' average attendance increased by more than 900 fans per game, with 14 regular season sellouts.

The team's first two games against the Seattle Thunderbirds in the upcoming WHL championship final sold out in minutes.

Correction : A previous version of this story said Sam Steel is the Regina Pats captain. In fact, Adam Brooks is captain.(May 04, 2017 6:58 PM)