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Bandits earn top AJHL awards

Posted on 7 March 2022 by Prairie Post

The Alberta Junior Hockey League announced the winners of their 2021-21 Awards, with Brooks winning four of them.

Forward Ryan McAllister was named AJHL MVP, forward TJ Hughes was named Top Forward, blueliner Zach Bookman won Outstanding Defenceman, and Head Coach and GM Ryan Papaioannou was named Coach of the Year.

Most Valuable Player

McAllister, who was also the AJHL scoring champion, is the 2021-22 AJHL MVP and recipient of the Alberta Old Time Hockey Players trophy.

With 139 points (57G, 82A), the Western Michigan University commit is the first AJHL player to score over 130 points in a season since the 1997-98 season. McAllister (London, ON) broke the Bandits franchise record for most points in a season and is just the second Bandit to score 50 goals in a season. He averaged 2.3 points per game, recorded 42 multi-point games and completed the season with a 12-game point streak.

The third-year Bandit was named as the 2021-22 Team MVP and Top Scorer. McAllister, 20, was selected as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month twice, the CJHL 1st Star of the Month in October 2021, received the Pizza 73 AJHL Player of the Week award four times, and was the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game in 10 games.

Top Forward Award

TJ Hughes is first recipient of the newly created AJHL Top Forward award after recently earning the AJHL Leading Goal Scorer award.  The award recognizes the player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season. The 20 year-old forward scored a remarkable 66 goals and 127 points as well as a league leading 10 game winning goals in the regular season.

Hughes (Hamilton, ON) is the first AJHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since the 2000-01 season and set a team record for most goals in a season. The third-year Bandit was second overall in the AJHL Scoring Race with 127 points and an average of 2.1 points per game with seven hat tricks.  He will enter the AJHL Record Book with the eighth most goals scored in a single season and third in the category of powerplay goals in a single season with 28.

In November 2021, Hughes was selected as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Player of the Month and the CJHL 2nd Star of the Month as he recorded 30 points in 12 games and extended a 28-game point streak.  He was recognized as the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game 15 times in 2021-22. Hughes was also the recipient of the Brooks Bandits Top Forward award.

Outstanding Defenceman

NHL Prospect Zach Bookman of the Brooks Bandits has been selected as the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Outstanding Defenceman and recipient of the W.G. (Bill) Scott Memorial Trophy. The award recognizes the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all-round ability in the position throughout the season.

Bookman set three League Records in his final games of the regular season and finished third overall in the AJHL Scoring Race with 102 points (21G, 81A).  The Merrimack College commit led all AJHL defencemen and rookies in scoring, setting new AJHL Records for most points by a defenceman (102), most assists by a defenceman (81) and most assists by a rookie (81).

The 19 year-old was recognized twice as the Inter Pipeline AJHL Rookie of the Week and four times as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week.  Bookman (Syracuse, NY) was also a finalist for AJHL Rookie of the Year and won the team award as Top Defenceman.

Coach of the Year

Ryan Papaioannou is the 2021-22 AJHL Coach of the Year.  This is the third Coach of the Year award for Papaioannou after previously winning the honour in 2013 and 2019, which also led to his being named 2013 CJHL Coach of the Year.

Papaioannou, 38, has coached his team to a first-place finish for the fifth time, and their fourth 50+ win season, to capture the Dave Duchak Trophy as AJHL Regular Season Champions.  Papaioannou has served as General Manager and Head Coach of the Bandits since 2010 and is a two-time Canadian National Junior A Champion and five-time AJHL champion.

Brooks completed the 2021-22 regular season with a record of 52-6-2 and 106 points.  The Bandits will enter the AJHL Record Book tied for third in the category of most wins (52), tied for sixth overall for fewest losses (6) and tied for fourth in the category of most points (106).  Brooks led the AJHL with 371 goals for, placing them second in the League Record Book behind the 1972-73 Calgary Canucks.

As regular season champions, the Brooks Bandits have earned a round one bye in the 2022 Inter Pipeline AJHL Playoffs and will host their first games on March 18th & 19th as the top seed.

All award winners are determined through three stages of voting by the General Managers and Coaches of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.  The following League Awards and Scholarships will be announced throughout the 2022 Inter Pipeline AJHL Playoffs.

Viterra All-League and All-Rookie Team
Viterra Star of the Game Standings Leader – Viterra Cup
Stewy Stewart Memorial Award – Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy
AJHL Executive of the Year – Ken Bracko Award
Viterra Salute to Service Volunteer Award – North & South Division Recipients
Merit Contractors AJHL Scholarship – North & South Division Recipients
Inter Pipeline AJHL Scholarship

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