Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs has been named the Western Hockey League’s defenceman of the year for the second straight season.
The 20-year-old Chiefs captain had 59 points (19 goals 40 assists) in 46 games to rank fourth in scoring among all WHL defencemen before the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Lloydminster, Alta., had 16 multipoint games in 2019-20, including three goals and five assists in a 9-2 win over Seattle on Feb. 28. His eight points topped his own franchise record for points in a game by a defenceman and marked the first hat trick of his WHL career.
With Smith leading the defence, the Chiefs allowed 179 goals through 64 games this season and were on pace to allow fewer than 200 goals for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Smith was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the first round, 17th overall, at the 2018 NHL draft.
He represented Canada at the past two world hockey championships and helped Canada win gold earlier this year in Ostrava, Czech Republic, with three assists in seven games.
Smith is the first player to win consecutive WHL defenceman of the year awards since Kris Russell of the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2006 and 2007.