Heponiemi named WHL Rookie of the Year; Steenbergen named Most Sportsmanlike

Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi was named the WHL Rookie of the Year.

Swift Current Broncos’ import forward Aleksi Heponiemi was recognized Wednesday as the top rookie in the league this season. The 17-year-old forward was the recipient of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year at the Western Hockey League Awards in Calgary today.

The Tampere, Finland native led all WHL rookies with 86 points in 72 games with 28 goals and 58 assists. He was selected 10th overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.

Teammate Tyler Steenbergen won the Brad Hornung Trophy as the WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Steenbergen after receiving his award. “Receiving it from Brad himself, it makes it that much more special. Being the Most Sportsmanlike Player, you know, you want to have as much time on the ice as possible, so taking less penalties that lets me do that.”

Steenbergen blossomed into one of the top goal scorers in the WHL this season, tying for the league lead with 51 goals in 72 games while being whistled for only 22 minutes in penalties.

“I gotta thank my teammates and the coaching staff for putting in unbelievable systems for myself. Obviously my families and my billets, they have been nothing but great in supporting me.”