Winnipeg, MB. – The Mantioba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association is holding its 60th Athletes of the Year Dinner at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg Friday night.
While he won’t be in attendance, due to the fact that the Wheat Kings will be busy in Prince Albert battling the Raiders Friday, 17-year old Winnipegger Nolan Patrick is one of five finalists for Manitoba’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Patrick, who was Brandon’s first selection and 4th overall player taken in the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, will be up against Manitoba Bisons defensive tackle David Omyemata, golfer Devon Schade, Pan Am Games archer Jay Lyon and 2-time winner of the MSAA Male Athlete of the Year Award Jonathan Toews of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
A member of the Canadian team that captured the gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last August, Patrick was chosen the WHL’s Rookie of the Year in 2015.
He led all WHL rookies in goals during the 2014-15 regular season with thirty and finished third in scoring among first year players with 56 points. By scoring 30, he became only the third 16-year old WHL rookie to reach that milestone over the course of the last twenty years.
Entering this weekend, the 6’3” 195 lb center, who will be eligible for the 2017 National Hockey League Draft, leads the club in scoring this season with seventeen goals and 51 points in 44 games.
Nolan is from a talented Winnipeg sports family. While his father Steve is a former Wheat King and NHL first round draft choice, his mother Carrie is a former All Canadian volleyball player at the University of Winnipeg. Meanwhile his uncle James is a former NHL defenceman and current assistant coach of the Dallas Stars.
While Patrick is up for Male Athlete, he and his Brandon teammates are finalists for Manitoba’s Team of the Year after capturing the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL Regular Season Champions in 2014-15.
Up against the Wheat Kings will be the RBC Cup Champion Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Braden Calvert’s junior men’s curling squad, Manitoba’s Canada Winter Games ringette team and the WinMan Wesmen boys’ volleyball team.
Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Chipman will be Friday’s keynote speaker while TSN’s Dennis Beyak, who will be making an appearance at this year’s CKLQ Wheat Kings’ Sportsman’s Dinner in Brandon on February 4th, will serve as master of ceremonies.
In other off-ice news, Brandon’s own Walter “Turk” Broda will be honoured on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Legends Row, outside the Air Canada Centre. The local netminder came to prominence as a Red Wings’ prospect before the start of the 2nd World War. After earning a tryout with the Wings, he was sold to the Leafs for less than $10,000. Known as the Leafs’ “money goaltender” he quickly became a fan favorite in Toronto and during one stretch, he had a seven-year run of playing every game, every season.
A winner of five Stanley Cups, the former Brandon Native Son compiled a career playoff goals against average of under 2.00.
Following his playing days, Broda turned to coaching where he helped lead the Toronto Marlboroughs to back to back Memorial Cups in the mid fifties.
In Brandon, the Manitoba Hydro Turk Broda Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Wheat Kings’ Top Manitoban Born Player each year.
The Wheat Kings and Raiders will be meeting for the fourth time this season Friday night, with Prince Albert having won two of the first three. The 27-13-2-2 Wheat Kings currently lead the second place Raiders by a single point in the WHL’s Eastern Division standings.
Friday’s game will be the first of a 3-game in three night road trip for the Wheat Kings, who are beginning another strange stretch of the 2015-16 regular season schedule that will see them play seven straight games on the road.
Brandon doesn’t play at home until Friday, February 5th when the Prince George Cougars pay a visit to Westman Communications Group Place.