The BCHL handed out its 2021 Pod Awards last week, in what is a hopeful and final farewell to the pandemic season.
The BCHL’s 16 participating teams were separated into four pods of three teams and one of four teams in a last ditch effort to get a 20-game season in for 2021.
The season ended successfully void of COVID cases, and the league recognized the top players and all the teams for their perseverance.
Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Ryan Helliwell was awarded the best defenceman in the Penticton Pod, which consisted of the Vees, Cranrbook Bucks and Smoke Eaters.
Helliwell was on loan from the inactive Langley Rivermen who chose not to participate in the 20-game season. The 18-year-old Vancouver native made an immediate impact, and led all Trail defencemen in scoring with three goals and 11 points in 18 games. The Notre Dame commit also brought some grit to the Smokies blue line counting 30 minutes in penalties.
Penticton dominated the pod and the awards, with MVP and Top Goalie Awards going to Kaeden Lane who went 15-1-0 in net with a 1.13 goals against average, a .951 save percentage, and five shut outs.
Vees forward Jacob Quillan earned Top Rookie with 13 goals and 27 points in 20 games. The Dartmouth, N.S. native also seemed to find a way to make an impact when it mattered most, notching five game-winning goals, tied for most in the league.
Luc Wilson earned the Pod’s Top Scorer with 29 points, and Penticton the Pod Champions award with an 18-1-1 record and 37 points, the most in the BCHL.
The Vernon Vipers won the Vernon Pod, Prince George the Chilliwack Pod, Surrey Eagles the Coquitlam Pod, and the Victoria Grizzlies the Port Alberni Pod.
Vernon Pod: MVP Simon Tassy, Top Goalie James Porter Jr., Top D-man Hunter Sansbury, Top Rookie Noah Serdachny
Chilliwack Pod: MVP Christian Buono, Top Goalie Aaron Trotter, Top D-man Jackson Munro, Top Rookie Sasha Teleguine
Coquitlam Pod: MVP Christian Fitzgerald, Top goalie Thomas Scarfone, Top D-man Ben Brunette, Top Rookie Keeton Oakley.
Port Alberni Pod: MVP and Top Rookie Ellis Rickwood, Top D-man Isack Bandu, Top goalie Luke Pearson
The player awards were selected based on polling the coaches and broadcasters from the teams in the respective Pods.