Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today Ty Smith, defenceman of the Spokane Chiefs, as the recipient of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy (WHL Defenceman of the Year) Presented by RE/MAX of Western Canada.
“As a proud partner of the WHL, RE/MAX is proud to congratulate Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs, winner of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the 2019/2020 WHL Defenceman of the Year,” said Elaine Langhout, Director, Regional Advertising for RE/MAX of Western Canada.
“This is an amazing accomplishment for Ty and we wish him the very best with his future career in hockey and with the New Jersey Devils.”
This year’s recognition marks back-to-back WHL Defenceman of the Year Awards for Smith. He becomes the first WHL defenceman to accomplish the feat since Kris Russell earned the award in 2006 and 2007 with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
A 20-year-old prospect of the New Jersey Devils, Smith once again captained the Chiefs while anchoring the blue line of the U.S. Division Club. Smith recorded 59 points (19G-40A) in 46 games, including three power-play goals and one game-winning goal, to rank fourth in scoring among all WHL defencemen.
A 5-foot-11, 175-pound product of Lloydminster, Alta., Smith tallied 16 multi-point games throughout the season. His top single-game performance came on February 28, 2020 as he recorded eight points (3G-5A) to break his own franchise record for points in a single game by a defenceman. The performance also marked the first hat trick of his WHL career.
In January 2020, Smith recorded 10 points (3G-7A) over a six-game point streak. Near the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, Smith posted 17 points (7G-10A) over a five-game stretch. The 2019-20 campaign marked Smith’s third-straight season averaging more than a point-per-game.
With Smith at the helm of their defence, the Chiefs allowed 179 goals through 64 games this season and were on pace to allow fewer than 200 goals for the first time since the 2010-11 WHL Regular Season.
The first-overall selection from the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Smith has been a consistent presence for the Chiefs. In 240 WHL regular season games, he’s recorded 235 points (45G-190A), including 13 power-play goals and eight game-winning goals. He’s also posted 16 points (3G-13A), including one game-winning goal, in 22 WHL playoff games.
Smith was named to the WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team for the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season, marking the second-straight year with that honour. The Devils chose Smith in the first round, 17thoverall, of the 2018 NHL Draft.
The Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy recognizes a WHL defenceman who has demonstrated the best all-around ability at his position during the WHL Regular Season.
Born in Saskatoon, Sask., Hunter is honoured for his role in the establishment and sustained success of the WHL. Dedicated and enthusiastic to growing Major Junior hockey, Hunter served as the Owner, General Manager, and Coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings in addition to being a co-founder of the league.
Along with long-time friend, the late Scotty Munro, the pair helped to lead the league’s growth through its formative years.
As the recipient of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy Presented by RE/MAX of Western Canada, Smith is now one of three nominees for the Canadian Hockey League’s Real Canadian Superstore Defenceman of the Year Award. Smith was named the recipient of the CHL Defenceman of the Year Award in 2019.
RUNNER UP: Calen Addison, Lethbridge Hurricanes
Winners of the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy / WHL Defenceman of the Year Award (since 2000):
2018-19: Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs*
2017-18: Kale Clague, Moose Jaw Warriors
2016-17: Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds
2015-16: Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings*
2014-15: Shea Theodore, Seattle Thunderbirds
2013-14: Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks*
2012-13: Brenden Kichton, Spokane Chiefs
2011-12: Alex Petrovic, Red Deer Rebels
2010-11: Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades
2009-10: Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets
2008-09: Jonathon Blum, Vancouver Giants*
2007-08: Karl Alzner, Calgary Hitmen*
2006-07: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers*
2005-06: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
2004-05: Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2003-04: Dion Phaneuf, Red Deer Rebels
2002-03: Jeff Woywitka, Red Deer Rebels
2001-02: Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars*
2000-01: Christian Chartier, Prince George Cougars
1999-00: Micki DuPont, Kamloops Blazers*
*Denotes CHL Defenceman of the Year recipient
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.