Sunrise, Fla. – Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced today that Florida Panthers prospect D Alex Petrovic has been awarded the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League (WHL) Defenseman of the Year. The WHL announced their award winners for the 2011-12 season at an Awards Luncheon held in Calgary, Alta. on Wednesday afternoon.
Petrovic, 20, earned the honors after finishing third on his Red Deer Rebels team and 15th among WHL defensemen in scoring with 48 points (12-30-48) in 68 games. The Edmonton, Alta. native set career-highs in both goals (12) and PIM (141, 12th most in league for season) while also registering 11 multi-point games. The Panthers second-round pick (36th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft played in all situations for the Rebels and was counted on from the back-end as only one other Rebel defenseman played more than 56 games during the regular season.
Following the close of the WHL regular season, Petrovic was assigned to the Panthers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. Playing in five regular season games for the club, Petrovic helped the sixth-seed Rampage to an upset of the third-seed Chicago Wolves in the AHL Western Conference first-round registering four points (1-3-4) and 12 PIM in five games. San Antonio starts their Best-of-7 Western Conference Semifinal matchup against the top-seed Oklahoma City Barons Thursday night.
Signed to an entry-level contract on April 18, 2011, Petrovic joins the likes of current NHL defensemen Karl Alzner (Washington), Kris Russell (Columbus, St. Louis), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary, Toronto), Dan Hamhuis (Nashville, Vancouver) and Brad Stuart (San Jose, Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles, Detroit) along with former NHL defensemen Jason Smith (New Jersey, Toronto, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Ottawa), Darryl Sydor (Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, St. Louis) and Glen Wesley (Boston, Hartford, Carolina, Toronto) among others to win the award.