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Swift Current F Lowry named WHL player of the year

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The Canadian Press
5/1/2013 4:35:59 PM
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CALGARY -- Adam Lowry didn't let a season-ending wrist injury last year slow him down for too long.

After an off-season of hard work, Lowry led the Swift Current Broncos this past season with 45 goals and 43 assists in 72 games to go with a plus-18 rating.

His dedication paid off on Wednesday when he was awarded the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the Western Hockey League player of the year.

The trophy is named in honour of four Broncos players -- Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka, and Brent Ruff -- who were killed on Dec. 30, 1986, when the team bus was involved in an accident.

"Being able to play in Swift Current and having the award named after the four Broncos that passed away tragically 26 years ago, it adds a little extra," Lowry said. "It means a lot to, not only our organization, but to the town itself. I'm just thrilled."

Lowry, who missed the last half of the 2011-12 season, credited his dad Dave for supporting him while he spent countless hours in the gym to rehabilitate his injury.

Now the head coach of the WHL's Victoria Royals, Dave played 1,084 NHL games over 19 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames.

"He's been huge, being able to lean on him and what he's gone through," said Adam, who was chosen by the Winnipeg Jets in the third round (67th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. "It definitely was really helpful in my 18-year-old year when I missed the second half with injury.

"He's been dealt blows like that. He just told me to continue to work hard and your hard work's going to pay off."

Dave Lowry said it was exciting to see his son get rewarded for his hard work at Wednesday's WHL awards luncheon in Calgary.

"Credit to Adam, he's been a committed and dedicated player," he said. "He was finally able to get himself healthy and he's matured through the league and I'm really excited for him to see the year end the way it did."

Seth Jones, the top-rated prospect heading into this June's NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey, was named the WHL's rookie of the year.

Like Lowry, Jones gave credit to his dad, former National Basketball League player and current Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Ronald Jerome (Popeye) Jones, for helping him get to where he is today.

"He's been a huge support," said Jones, who put up 14 goals and 56 assists and an impressive plus-46 rating in 61 games with the Portland Winterhawks in his rookie season. "He really helps me mentally just focus on the game."

Jones also acknowledged his coaches and teammates in Portland for helping him adjust to playing in the WHL.

"I couldn't have done it without the teammates that I played with and the coaching staff for helping me along the way," said the 18-year-old defenceman. "They really took me under their wing and made it very comfortable for me to just focus on hockey."

Jones and the Winterhawks will battle the Edmonton Oil Kings in the best-of-seven WHL championship series, which starts on Friday in Portland.

"The playoffs have been a lot of fun," Jones said. "It's another level of hockey. It's do-or-die almost every night. You can't take any nights off."

Also on Wednesday, Brendon Kichton of the Spokane Chiefs was named the WHL's defenceman of the year, while Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels earned accolades as goaltender of the year.

Portland teammates Brendan Leipsic and Nicolas Petan tied for the WHL regular-season lead in scoring with 120 points each and had their names etched onto the Bob Clarke Trophy, while Dylan Wruck of the Oil Kings was named the league's most sportsmanlike player.

For the second year in a row, Edmonton general manager Bob Green was chosen as the top executive of the year in the WHL, while Ryan McGill of the Kootenay Ice was named coach of the year.

Other award went to: Cody Sylvester of the Calgary Hitmen (humanitarian of the year), Josh Morrissey of the Prince Albert Raiders (scholastic player of the year), Nathan Wieler (top official of the year), the Portland Winterhawks (scholastic team of the year) and the Kamloops Blazers (marketing/business award).

Adam Lowry (Photo: Graig Abel/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Graig Abel/Getty Images)
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