The Spokane Chiefs’ Rookie of the Year award recognizes a player who excelled in his first full season competing in the Western Hockey League. The Chiefs are proud to announce that their 2019-20 Rookie of the Year is Post Falls, Idaho native Bear Hughes.
Hughes, who grew up about 30 minutes from Spokane, burst on to the scene last season as an Affiliated Player, scoring twice in his first home game on March 16, 2019.
As it turns out, that was a sign of things to come for the 2001-born forward. Hughes had a rookie campaign to remember, scoring 16 goals and adding 31 assists for 47 points in 61 games. He finished the season ranked 7th among all WHL rookies in points, 9th in goals, tied for 4th in assists and 5th in shots on goal.
His most noteworthy stretch was the month of November, when he piled up 12 points (5G-7A) and a plus-12 rating in 12 games to earn recognition from the league as the WHL Rookie of the Month. From Oct. 19 to Dec. 14, Hughes scored nine goals and 15 assists for 22 points including a season-best 6-game point streak from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3 and a career-best three-point night (3A) on Dec. 14 at Seattle.
He recorded points in six of seven games in late January and early February (2G-7A) as the Chiefs began to roll toward their stellar late-season finish. Hughes finished the season with 12 multi-point efforts.
Unrated by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service headed into the season, the 6-foot-1 two-way forward jumped up to 80th among North American skaters in the midterm rankings.
Overlooked as a bantam, Hughes experienced an interesting path to the WHL. He was originally put on Spokane’s radar by former Chief and current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, who noticed him at Frontier Ice Arena in Post Falls during offseason skates. Prior to being listed, Hughes played primarily house league hockey in the Spokane area.
He competed for the Spokane Braves of the KIJHL during the 2018-19 season, earning league Rookie of the Year and division MVP honors.
2019-20 Spokane Chiefs Team Awards
Player of the Year: Adam Beckman
Players’ Player: Eli Zummack
Co-Defenseman of the Year & Most Sportsmanlike Player: Filip Kral
Co-Defenseman of the Year: Ty Smith
Rookie of the Year: Bear Hughes
Humanitarian of the Year: Noah King
Scholastic Player of the Year: Reed Jacobson