Portland Winterhawks forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has won the Western Hockey League’s Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the league’s Player of the Year.
He becomes the third player in team history to win the award, joining Steve Konowalchuk, who won it in the 1991-92 season, and Perry Turnbull, who took home the honor in the 1978-79 season. Bjorkstrand is also just the second European player in league history to win the award, along with Sergei Varlamov who won in 1997-98 as a member of the Swift Current Broncos.
“The Four Broncos Memorial Trophy is the highest individual honor a WHL player can receive, and there’s nobody who exemplifies what the award means more than Oliver,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Jamie Kompon. “As great of a player as Oliver is, he’s an even better person. This is a tremendous honor and as an organization we couldn’t be prouder of him.”
“When I first came into the WHL one of my goals was to be one of the top players in the league, so the fact that I won the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy really means a lot to me,” said Bjorkstrand. “This is a great organization and I’ve loved my time in Portland. It’s my sincere honor to win this prestigious award.”
Bjorkstrand led all WHL players in goals (63) and points (118) during the regular season, also securing the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s leading scorer. He was a unanimous selection to the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team, won three consecutive WHL Player of the Month Awards in January, February and March, and was voted by his teammates as the Winterhawks’ Most Valuable Player.
Bjorkstrand’s incredible season included reaching 50 goals in 50 games, becoming the first WHL player to accomplish the feat since Medicine Hat’s Emerson Etem in 2011-12. It also secured his second straight 50-goal season, making him the first Hawk with successive 50-goal seasons since Dennis Holland in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 campaigns.
His 63 goals made him the first Winterhawk to score 60 since Lonny Bohonos in 1993-94. Bjorkstrand also etched his name in the team record book with a 12-game goal streak from January 30 – March 6 to break a record set by Tony Currie in the team’s inaugural season in 1976-77. Bjorkstrand scored eight shorthanded goals to break Holland’s single season record that had stood since 1988-89, and became the franchise leader among import players in career games played (193), goals (144), assists (146) and points (290).
Bjorkstrand was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft, and saw preseason action with the Blue Jackets at the start of the season. He also represented his native Denmark at the World Junior Championship this year and led them to winning their first game in the tournament in the country’s history.