KENNEWICK — Vancouver Giants forward Craig Cunningham was named the Western Conference player of the year Thursday and will be up against Eastern Conference winner Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy.
"It's a great honor to represent the Western Conference," said Cunningham at a press conference to kick off the Western Conference finals between Vancouver and Tri-City. "I think it's a reflection on our organization, our coaching and the team. It's an honor to have your name beside Jordan Eberle's. He's an icon in Canadian hockey."
Cunningham led the Giants in scoring this season with 37 goals and 60 assists in playing all 72 games. The 5-10, 180-pound native of Trail, B.C., had points in 57 of 72 games.
Eberle, had 50 goals and 56 assists in 57 games and had points in 50 games. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, the 5-11, 184-pound forward averaged 1.86 points per game, the highest in the WHL since Czech winger Pavel Brendl of the Calgary Hitmen averaged 1.97 points per game during the 1998-99 season after scoring 134 points in 68 games.
Eberle is a 2008 first-round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.
The WHL awards ceremony is April 28 in Edmonton, Alberta.