Ams' Hiller named WHL's top coach

By Annie Fowler, Tri-City Herald May 3, 2012 

CALGARY, Alberta -- Tri-City Americans coach Jim Hiller made his first trip to the awards stand Wednesday, being named Western Hockey League Coach of the Year at the league's annual awards ceremony in Calgary, Alberta.

"There's certainly a lot of dedicated and talented people in the WHL," Hiller said of being singled out for the award. "This is an organizational award. There are other coaches and the talented players who win the hockey games."

Hiller follows former Americans coaches Don Nachbaur (2007-08) and Don Hay (1998-99) in winning the award.

Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin was named WHL Player of the Year, and Ty Rimmer was runner-up to Medicine Hat's Tyler Bunz for Goaltender of the Year.

"I think for Shinny to get player of the year, it sums it up," Hiller said. "He had great linemates and teammates. When you talk about all the talented goaltenders in the league, to be acknowledged is special. I'm proud of them, they gave everything they had."

Hiller led the Americans to a 50-18-2-2 record this season, capturing their fourth U.S. Division title in five years. They advanced to the Western Conference finals, where they lost in four games to the Portland Winterhawks.

This season, the Americans had the top-ranked defense in the league, the fourth-best offense and scored 91 more goals than they allowed. They also had the top-ranked penalty kill (84 percent) with a league-best 16 short-handed goals, and the seventh-ranked power play (23.5 percent).

In three years with the Americans, Hiller has a 141-64-5-6 record.

When it comes to the postseason, Hiller has won six playoff series, more than any other Tri-City coach. His 27 playoff wins ties him with Nachbaur.

Hiller led the Americans to their first Western Conference title in 2010, beating Vancouver in six games.

Other award winners include -- Rookie of the Year: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay; Defenseman of the Year: Alex Petrovic, Red Deer; Scholastic Player of the Year: Reid Gow, Spokane; Most Sportsmanlike Player: Mark Stone, Brandon; Humanitarian of the Year: Taylor Vause, Swift Current; Executive of the Year: Bob Green, Edmonton; Marketing & Communications: Moose Jaw Warriors; Top Official: Pat Smith; Regular Season Champions: Edmonton Oil Kings.

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