Trail Smoke Eaters: Baltus named Interior MVP

Trail Smoke Eater forward Brent Baltus continues to pick up accolades and awards.

His season may be over but Trail Smoke Eater forward Brent Baltus continues to pick up accolades and awards.

The 20-year-old Nanaimo native was named the Interior Conference Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.

Baltus led the Smoke Eaters in scoring this season with 24 goals and 52 points, including two shorthanded markers and three game-winning goals. In 116 career BCHL games with Trail, Nanaimo and Alberni Valley, the Nanaimo product tallied 38 goals and 83 points. Baltus is committed to the NCAA Division I Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves for the 2013-14 season.

Baltus was named the Smoke Eaters’ Most Improved Player in 2011-12 and the team’s co-MVP this season. Last week he was named to the Interior Conference’s Second All-Star Team.

“Brent’s been my offensive leader all season long,” said head coach and general manager Bill Birks in a release. “He’s put in the hard work and it’s extremely rewarding for our program to see him honoured by the league in this way.”

Baltus is the first Smoke Eater to be awarded the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy, given to the MVPs from both the Interior and Coastal Conferences. This year’s Coastal Conference MVP is Chilliwack Chiefs goaltender Mitch Gillam.

Baltus is also the first Smoke Eater to win a major BCHL award since Justin St. Louis was named Interior Conference Rookie of the Year in 2004.

The winners were chosen following a survey of BCHL coaches.