•    Former Tri-City American and Calgary Hitmen forward Connor Rankin is the Canada West WHL Grad of the Month after earning the Dave “Sweeney” Schriner Scoring Trophy as Canada West’s top regular season scorer
•    He is the fifth recipient of the award this season after Alberta’s Jamie Crooks (October), Calgary’s Elgin Pearce (November), Lethbridge’s Jay Merkley (December), and Saskatchewan’s Jesse Forsberg

EDMONTON – After leading Canada West in regular season scoring, Mount Royal’s Connor Rankin is the Western Hockey League (WHL) Graduate of the Month for February.

The second-year forward finished the 2016-17 regular season as the conference’s top scorer, earning the Dave “Sweeney” Schriner Scoring Trophy after registering 35 points (17G-18A).

Rankin registered four points in as many February regular season games, while adding and additional six points (4G-2A) in MRU’s five playoff games.

The second-year forward helped guide the Cougars to a three-game win over the Manitoba Bisons in the conference quarters, before bowing out of the Canada West playoffs in the semifinals against the Saskatchewan Huskies.

In 37 career Canada West regular season games Rankin has 42 points, while also registering 10 points in eight career playoff games.

The North Vancouver, B.C. native was a first round pick of the Tri-City Americans in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, and finished his five-year WHL career with 339 regular season games between Tri-City and the Calgary Hitmen. Rankin’s best junior season came as a 20-year-old when registered 32 goals and 47 assists, to finish second on the Hitmen in scoring with 79 points. In total, Rankin registered 298 career WHL points, including 30 playoff points in 42 post-season games.

The other nominees for the WHL Grad of the Month award were: Alberta Golden Bear Rhett Rachinski (former Edmonton Oil King), UBC Thunderbird Luke Lockhart (former Seattle Thunderbird), Danny Gayle of the Calgary Dinos (ex-Calgary Hitmen), and Manitoba Bison Adam Henry (former Portland Winterhawk).

A pair of Canada West teams are headed to the U SPORTS University Cup March 16-19 in Fredericton, N.B., as the conference champion Alberta Golden Bears and CW silver medalist Saskatchewan Huskies look for national gold. The national semifinals (9 a.m. MT / 12 p.m. MT) on Saturday, March 18, as well as the national final (10 a.m. MT) on Sunday, March 19 can be seen live on Sportsnet 360.

Previous Canada West WHL Graduates of the Month

2016-17 Recipients:
October: Jamie Crooks, Alberta
November: Elgin Pearce, Calgary
December: Jay Merkley, Lethbridge
January: Jesse Forsberg, Saskatchewan

2015-16 Recipients:
October: Anthony Bardaro, UBC
November: Tyler Fiddler, Mount Royal
January: Kohl Bauml, Saskatchewan
February: Elgin Pearce, Calgary
March: Jordon Cooke, Saskatchewan