Ams' Pickard, Procyshen earn WHL honors

HERALD STAFF March 19, 2009 

Last year, Chet Pickard raked in so many awards and honors, he could hardly fit them all in his truck at the end of the season.

The Tri-City Americans goalie may want to rent a trailer when he heads home to Winnipeg, Manitoba, this spring.

Pickard was named the WHL's Western Conference goaltender of the year Wednesday, and was named to the Western Conference first team for the second year in a row.

Joining Pickard on the Western Conference All-Star team was forward Taylor Procyshen, who earned second-team honors.

Both will lead the Americans on Friday as they open the playoffs against Everett at Toyota Center.

Also named to the first team were defensemen Jonathon Blum of Vancouver and Thomas Hickey of Seattle, and forwards Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Evander Kane of Vancouver and Jamie Benn of Kelowna.

Second-team honors also went to Spokane goaltender Dustin Tokarski, defensemen Tyler Myers of Kelowna and Brent Regner of Vancouver and forwards Drayson Bowman of Spokane and Kelowna's Colin Long.

The Eastern Conference All-Stars will be announced today.

Pickard, who played in 50 games this season, was 35-12-0-3 with six shutouts in leading the Americans to a second straight U.S. Division title. He finished in the top five among league goaltenders in goals against average (2.28, fifth), save percentage (.921, second), wins (25, fourth) and shutouts

(6, third).

The 2008 first-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators will try to become the first goalie to win consecutive WHL goaltender of the year honors since Calgary's Mike Vernon (1981-82, 1982-83). If selected, Pickard would become just the fourth goalie in the league's history to have been awarded the honor twice.

Procyshen, capping off his fourth year in the league -- all with Tri-City -- played all 72 games with career highs of 36 goals, 45 assists, 81 points and a plus-40 rating. He finished his regular-season career tied for eighth all-time on the Americans' goals scored list (112) and 14th all-time on the scoring list (212 points).

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