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Steelheads Announce 2021-22 Team Award Winners

Tuesday, April 12th
Steelheads Announce 2021-22 Team Award Winners

BOISE, Idaho The Idaho Steelheads revealed their annual end-of-year team award winners prior to the final home game of the 2021-22 regular season on Saturday at Idaho Central Arena.Selected by Steelheads Head Coach Everett Sheen and Assistant Coach Keenan Kelly with consultation from the Steelheads Front Office, the 2021-22 Steelheads Award Winners are listed in the order in which they were announced on Saturday.Cal Ingraham Leading Scorer Award – A.J. White, ForwardA.J. White entered the weekend as the runaway winner of his first Cal Ingraham Leading Scorer Award in a career season during his fourth Steelheads season and sixth in the ECHL, boasting 25 goals and 42 assists for 67 points with 11 power play goals, 11 power play assists, one shorthanded assist, and a plus-18 rating through all 68 games. The Dearborn, Mich. native leads the team in assists, points, power play goals, and power play points while sitting in second in goals and plus-minus rating. He’s the only player to breach the 50-point mark, and he bulldozed his previous career-bests in all categories while earning his first season above 20 goals, 40 assists and 60 points.Steelheads Defenseman of the Year – Michael PrapavessisMichael Prapavessis has been a key addition on both sides of the ice for the Steelheads after playing with three different teams in the 2020-21 season. He entered the weekend with five goals and 28 assists for 33 points with 11 power play assists and a plus-18 rating through 37 games. The Mississauga, Ont. product shares the team lead in power play assists and is second in assists while also owning the fourth-best point-per-game ratio (0.89) on the team. Prapavessis was named an assistant captain in March and earned the most points by a Steelheads defenseman in two seasons.Steelheads Hustle Award – Will Merchant, ForwardNow in his fifth season with the Steelheads, Will Merchant is part of a “lead by example” group of players while embodying the award namesake in his style of play. That hustling, battling mentality has led the Eagan, Minn. native to 18 goals and 16 assists for 34 points with a team-best plus-22 rating through 44 games, and it’s just two games shy of his point total from the 2019-20 campaign that was done in 17 more games. Merchant played 13 games with the Texas Stars this season and recorded his first AHL goal in the process with meaningful AHL minutes thanks to that mentality.Steelheads Unsung Hero – Colton Kehler, ForwardIn his second professional season, Colton Kehler has been an impact player that’s been able to fill multiple roles throughout the season. In addition to his 15 goals and 19 assists for 34 points through 58 games this season, he has the second-most power play goals (6) on the team while playing on multiple units this year and stepping up as a physical presence consistently both while battling for pucks and dropping the gloves. Kehler worked his way into the top-five in scoring on the team while playingIdaho Central Arena 3 Star Award – A.J. White, ForwardEvery season, the player that earned the most ICCU 3 Star Selection recognition is also showcased at the end of the season, and the consistent production and big games by A.J. White led him to the top of the team for the second-straight year. While he tied for the most first star recognitions this season, he ran away with the most times appearing on the three stars list—12 times—between home and road games as well as total points accrued (27) by positioning on the rating scale. White is the first repeat winner of the award since Mark Derlago in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.Steelheads Rookie of the Year – Yauheni Aksiantsiuk, ForwardYauheni Aksiantsiuk has been a firecracker during his first season in North American play and a high scoring threat when on the ice, entering the weekend with 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points with four power play goals and a plus-four rating through 36 games. The Brest, Belarus native is tied for third on the team in goals scored and second among rookies in scoring. Both of his game-winning goals came in overtime victories, including a hat-trick on November 26 at home, he was named ECHL Rookie of the Month in October to open the season, and he was voted as the team’s representative at the 2022 ECHL All-Star Classic. Aksiantsiuk was selected 162nd overall (6th Round) by the Dallas Stars in the 2020 NHL Draft.Bill Campbell Community Service Award – Zach Walker, ForwardEvery year, the Steelheads staff selects one player that embodies the spirit of Bill Campbell, who exemplified the spirit of the organization and worked to make the Treasure Valley a better place. In a year limited for community appearances and activities due to health and safety regulations by the ECHL in response to the pandemic, Boise native Zach Walker has been the ultimate representative of the Steelheads with the limited fan interactions available and open to connecting with those outside the organization even with those limitations. Led by faith and carried by a positive attitude, Walker has been a fan favorite throughout the season, and he has paid that appreciation back in droves.Most Valuable Player – A.J. White, ForwardFor the second-straight year, A.J. White earns this honor thanks to his valuable leadership as well as his consistent leading production for the Steelheads. The third-year captain has been atop the Steelheads scoring race since his hat-trick on Opening Night and has been battling within the top-20 in the ECHL scoring race throughout the season. His performance this year has led him into an exclusive group of Steelheads players, especially for the ECHL era. White enters the weekend sitting in the top-six during the ECHL era in four categories: third in games played (270), fourth in assists (127), fifth in points (193), and sixth in goals (67). This is his first season leading the team in scoring at the end of the regular season after sitting second in back-to-back seasons.The Steelheads close the 2021-22 regular season on the road against the Utah Grizzlies beginning on Friday, Apr. 15 at 7:10 p.m. from Maverik Center. Follow along as the Steelheads continue their hunt for the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs at IdahoSteelheads.com, and follow the Steelheads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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