Last night, the CWHL presented its end of the year awards at an event in Toronto. Here’s who took home the trophies.
Rookie of the Year - Victoria Bach (Markham Thunder)
Bach led all rookie skaters in goals (19) and points (32) in her first season with the Markham Thunder. The highly-skilled forward emerged as one of the CWHL’s most dangerous goal scorers this year. Bach led all rookies with five game-winning goals and finished tied Brianne Jenner for second in the league in total goals with 19 goals. She finished the season with 11 goals in her last 12 games to help secure the Thunder a spot in the playoffs.
Coach of the Year - Jim Jackson (Markham Thunder)
Jim Jackson had set the bar high after his first season coaching in the CWHL with the brand-new Markham Thunder. It was time to combat the team’s sophomore slump and prove that last year’s overtime Clarkson Cup wasn’t a fluke. This year, he was confronted with a new threat: Canada’s Olympic players, including his team’s own, had returned from centralization. His team had an elite defense— probably the best in the league— but struggled with scoring depth. Jackson used his experience coaching at the CIS/USport level and was able to spread out the scoring among multiple players, including the unproven Victoria Bach and known threats Laura Stacey and Jamie Lee Rattray.
Goaltender of the Year - Alex Rigsby (Calgary Inferno)
This was Rigsby’s first season in the CWHL. The decorated American goaltender finished the season with an impressive 14-2-1 record for the Calgary Inferno. Rigsby’s .923 save percentage was one of the best in the league despite the fact that she had just one shutout during the regular season. Her consistent goaltending helped Calgary to a first place finish in the regular season standings.
Jayna Hefford Trophy - Marie-Philip Poulin (Les Canadiennes de Montréal)
This award is for the most valuable player as voted by the players. It is the third time Poulin has won it.
She led the league with 50 points and 23 goals in the regular season, and her 27 assists were second only to her teammate Ann-Sophie Bettez. Poulin’s points-per-game average of 1.92 far outpaced any other player in the league.
CWHL MVP - Marie-Philip Poulin (Les Canadiennes de Montréal)
This is the third year the Poulin has won both the Jayna Hefford and the CWHL MVP (2016, 2017).
Angela James Bowl - Marie-Philip Poulin (Les Canadiennes de Montréal)
Poulin led the league in scoring and points, giving her the Angela James Bowl for the third time. She shared the award with Jess Jones in 2017 and won it outright in 2016.
Defender of the Year - Erin Ambrose (Les Canadiennes de Montréal)
Erin Ambrose is in her third season in the CWHL and her second year with Les Canadiennes, having spent her first pro season with the Toronto Furies. Like Bellamy, she was the highest-scoring defender on her team. Also like Bellamy, she has 21 points this season, cementing her reputation as a great offensive forward, known for helping create and finish scoring chances. Although her goals-against statistics are not as strong as Bellamy’s, her offensive numbers are slightly better. She has eight more even-strength goals-for, and her even-strength goals-for percentage is a whopping 77.55%. Weirdly, the Canadiennes also have exactly eight more goals-for than the Inferno. Ambrose has made a name for herself as one of the best, if not the best, offensive defenders in the CWHL.
Chairman’s Trophy - Calgary Inferno
The Inferno won the Chairman’s Trophy as the first place team in the regular season.