Locally: Former Spokane Chiefs GM Tim Speltz wins WHL Governors Award

It was awards week for the chefs of Spokane.

Last week, the team named the winners of its annual player awards, and the Western Hockey League announced that the former Chiefs general manager and longtime governor Tim Speltz was the recipient of the 2022 WHL Governors Award.

Graham Sward earned two honors, John “Hitman” Hern Defender of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year, and Goalkeeper Mason Beaupit was the Chiefs Player of the Year when the individual recipients were announced.

Sward, an 18-year-old in his third season with the Chiefs, had career highs in goals (10), assists (33) and points (43) that led the team’s defensemen. His assists were third on the team, including 19 on the power play. His 24 powerplay points put him second on the team. He was among the league’s top 15 defensemen in goals and points and top 10 in assists.

This humanitarian honor is mainly due to a few cancer fundraising efforts he started or supported in memory of his grandfather, who died of cancer last year. Sward is the U.S. Division nominee for WHL Humanitarian of the Year.

The 6-foot-5 Beaupit was not only brilliant in net for the Chiefs, but also stood out in the CHL’s season-ending Top Prospects Game. He stopped all 16 shots he faced in a 3-1 win. The 18-year-old was 20-22-3-1 with a 3.63 goals-against average and .893 save percentage for the Chiefs.

On the final day of the regular season, with Spokane needing a win to clinch a playoff berth, Beaupit stopped 35 of 37 shots to help secure a 4-2 victory for Victoria.

Saige Weinstein, 16, a defenseman and one of the team’s 10 freshman skaters, was rookie of the year. He was third in scoring with 14 points, including 13 assists, and appeared in the second most games (59).

Captain Hugh Bear, 20, was voted Most Athletic Player of the Year by Ken Rabel, named after a safety guard who manned the Chiefs’ bench during the team’s years at the Coliseum and was particularly fond of the players who played the game honestly and hard. Hughes was the Chiefs’ leading scorer (24 goals, 67 points).

The school player of the year is the rookie Jake Gudelj, 16, who took a number of high school courses online, graduating from physics and social studies programs with an average score of 95% in the first semester. He takes chemistry and accounting classes in the second semester.

“Jake’s academic performance, especially as a WHL rookie, is extraordinary,” the Chiefs education coordinator said. Joe Everson.

The Governors Award that Speltz received is the highest honor the WHL bestows on an individual who has been associated with the league and is awarded annually to an individual who has had an impact on the growth and development of the WHL.

After 26 seasons as the Chiefs’ general manager, Speltz joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016-17 season as the NHL’s West Region Director of Scouting. In 2018-19, he was promoted to head of amateur scouting for the team, which he held for three seasons before being named general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights of the Maple Leafs in the AHL.

“Tim has become one of the most respected people in all of hockey,” said Bobby Bret, owner and managing partner of the Chiefs. “His leadership has helped many coaches, players and staff to become better at their jobs, whether in the game or in personal life.

“He helped take the Chiefs to a new level and made the franchise one of the best teams and companies in the CHL. The WHL is better because of Tim’s involvement and he has helped the WHL become the best junior league in the world.

• Beaupit and Sward improved their draft status when NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings ahead of the July 7-8, 2022 NHL Draft. Beaupit moved from seventh to fifth among Northeast goaltenders. Americans and Sward at 93 out of 148 among North American skaters.

International perspective of chefs David Jiriceka defender from the Czech Republic, who spent the season in his native country, remained fifth on the list of international skaters.

Four other Chiefs prospects are also on the North American rosters: Goalie Paxton Geisel, 19; skaters Jake Livanavage54; Garrett Brown, 102; and Carson Buyden167.

College scene

Haley Loffer, the College of Idaho senior shortstop from Lake City HS, picked up some honors last week. She was the Cascade Collegiate Conference Softball Player of the Week May 2-8 for her performance in the conference tournament and was named to the 2021-22 CoSIDA Academic NAIA All-District 4 Softball Team with a GPA of 3.40.

Loffer had one hit and one stolen base in all six playoff games, finishing the tournament with 11 hits, nine runs scored, nine stolen bases and a .550 batting average as the Coyotes finished second behind the defending champion Oregon Tech on an eight-inning 1-0 loss on an unearned run. Academic honor puts her on the All-America Academic Team ballot.

Ryan Clayfirst-year third baseman for Corban University in Central Valley, was named to the All-CCC baseball first team, where he was joined by two senior Lewis-Clark State of Lewiston, player of first goal Luke White and shortstop Riley Road. Way was also the winner of the Golden Glove for his position.

Clay and White were also named to the 2021-22 CoSIDA NAIA Academic All-District 4 Baseball Team and are eligible for selection to the Academic All-America Team. Clay has a 3.86 GPA and White a 3.40.

• Senior Pitcher Gabriel Hughes of Gonzaga (3.61) and two Washington State Cougars, graduate student Jack Smith (4.0) and Junior Designated Hitter Jacob McKeon (3.98), were named to the 2021-22 CoSIDA Division I Academic All-District 8 First Team and are eligible for the Academic All-America Team.

• Big Sky champion, Idaho, placed five players on the all-conference men’s tennis team along with a sophomore Francisco Bascon a unanimous first-team singles selection for a second consecutive season and Francois Gay named freshman of the year.

Second year Matteo Masala was the second team in singles while the pairs of Bascon and Bruno Casino and gay and Mario Duron received an honorable mention in doubles.

• Sophomore from Idaho Ke Syuan Jhang was a unanimous first-team selection for the All-Big Sky Conference women’s tennis team after going 6-1 in singles, including 5-1 while playing at No. 1 and 12-4 overall in singles and in duplicate. She has won seven of her last eight matches.

Scout Mathews was named to the All-Big Sky Conference women’s tennis second team after a season in which the Eastern Washington rookie compiled records of 6-6 in singles and doubles. She was 5-3 in conference singles play, mostly playing second place.

• Gonzaga’s eighth female varsity was named West Coast Conference Crew of the Month for the second month in a row. In April, the Zags swept Seattle University at home on senior day and faced Pac-12 Oregon State and Washington State.