Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Yager (Saskatoon, Sask.) has won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL Rookie of the Year presented by McSweeney’s.
Yager set a Moose Jaw Warriors franchise record for a 16-year-old player with 34 goals, good for second among Warriors skaters during the 2021-22 Regular Season.
The 6-foot-0, 161-pound forward led all WHL 16-year-old players in goals (34), points (59) and game-winning goals (six) while finishing with a share of the lead among his age group in power-play markers (11).
Yager registered eight multi-goal games over the course of the regular season including two hat-tricks, one of which occurred in Moose Jaw’s season opener October 1, 2021 against the Saskatoon Blades.
He also skated with Team Canada Red at Hockey Canada’s Capital City Challenge U17 event in Ottawa, Ont. in November and December of 2021.
“I’d like to congratulate the other nominees, Andrew Cristall, Owen Pickering and Kevin Korchinski, you all had great seasons. Thank you to the Moose Jaw Warriors and to my teammates for making it so easy for me to come to the rink every day with a smile on my face,” Yager said.
“Thank you as well to my billet parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, mom, dad and brother for their unconditional support,” he added.
Overall, Yager is the fourth member of the Moose Jaw Warriors franchise to win the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL Rookie of the Year and first since Brayden Tracey, who was awarded the trophy during the 2018-19 WHL season. He joins Tracey, Donovan Nunweiler (1996-97) and Mark Mackay (1984-85) as Warriors players to have been named WHL Rookie of the Year.
The Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy is presented annually to the player whose performance in their first season is deemed to be the most outstanding among all rookies.
A former owner of the Saskatoon Blades, Jim Piggott played a direct role in the formation of the Western Canadian Hockey League, now known as the WHL. Along with Del Wilson, Piggott played a critical role in the unification of all three Major Junior leagues across Canada into what is now known as the Canadian Hockey League.
WHL Rookie of the Year Nominees
B.C. Division – Andrew Cristall (Burnaby, B.C.) – Kelowna Rockets
Central Division – Owen Pickering (St. Adolphe, Man.) – Swift Current Broncos
U.S. Division – Kevin Korchinski (Saskatoon, Sask.) – Seattle Thunderbirds
The 2022 WHL Awards were voted on by WHL General Managers and members of the media.
Winners of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy / WHL Rookie of the Year (since 2002)
2021-22: Brayden Yager, Moose Jaw Warriors
2020-21: Connor Bedard, Regina Pats
2019-20: Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings
2018-19: Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw Warriors
2017-18: Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes
2016-17: Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos
2015-16: Matthew Phillips, Victoria Royals
2014-15: Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings
2013-14: Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets
2012-13: Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks
2011-12: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay ICE
2010-11: Mathew Dumba, Red Deer Rebels
2009-10: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels
2008-09: Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars *
2007-08: Brayden Schenn, Brandon Wheat Kings
2006-07: Kyle Beach, Everett Silvertips
2005-06: Peter Mueller, Everett Silvertips
2004-05: Tyler Plante, Brandon Wheat Kings
2003-04: Gilbert Brule, Vancouver Giants
2002-03: Matt Ellison, Red Deer Rebels *
2001-02: Braydon Coburn, Portland Winter Hawks
* Denotes CHL Rookie of the Year