By Lethbridge Herald on April 20, 2017.
One day after playing the role of overtime hero that has kept the Lethbridge Hurricanes season going, Tyler Wong has landed another honour.
The 20-year-old overage forward and Hurricanes captain was named the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference nominee for the Humanitarian of the Year Award for the third consecutive season.
Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars was been named the Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year and each player is now nominated for the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Humanitarian of the Year.
Building upon success from its inaugural season in 2015-16, Wong carried forward with the ‘Canes KidSport program in this past season, donating $5 to KidSport Lethbridge & Taber for each goal he scored.
After raising over $6,000 in 2015-16 and after setting a goal to raise $10,000 in 2016-17, the Hurricanes captain recruited Ryley Lindgren — now of the Swift Current Broncos — Giorgio Estephan and Jordy Bellerive to accept the challenge in support of KidSport and with the help of the community and alumni, the initiative surpassed its goal by raising over $13,000 this season.
Wong played a vital role in other ways within the community, including through the “Hurricanes Spread Christmas Cheer” program in support of local foodbanks in southern Alberta.
Along with his coaches and teammates, Wong helped deliver food hampers and toy baskets and visited senior homes during the holiday season.
As well, he volunteered as a teacher’s assistant in a local classroom, served as a volunteer on-ice instructor for a number of minor hockey teams throughout the season and most recently worked with the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association to help individuals with mental and physical disabilities through horseback riding.
This season Wong was voted as the Hurricanes “Fan Favourite Player” for the fifth time, ensuring a clean sweep of the award for the duration of his WHL and Hurricanes career, a feat achieved by no other player in Hurricanes history.
Thanks to Wong’s overtime winner in Game 7 of the Hurricanes Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Medicine Hat Tigers Tuesday night in Medicine Hat, the Canes pack up today and head to Regina where they’ll face the Pats in Games 1 and 2 of the WHL Eastern Conference final Friday and Saturday night.
The series is a rematch of last year’s playoffs when the Pats eliminated the Hurricanes in five games in the first round of playoffs.
Game time both nights is 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.
The series comes back to Lethbridge Tuesday and Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre.
If necessary, Game 5 will go April 28 in Regina with Game 6 in Lethbridge April 30.
If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played May 2 in Regina.
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes announced they had signed 2000-born forward Brendan Stafford to a WHL Standard Player Agreement.
The 17-year-old from Edmonton played 60 games with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League this season, scoring six goals and 24 points along with 24 penalty minutes.
He was teammates with Hurricanes defenceman Koletrane Wilson this season and is the younger cousin of Boston Bruins’ forward Drew Stafford.
Stafford, a five-foot-10 forward, was not drafted in the WHL Bantam Draft.
He played his bantam hockey with the Sherwood Park Flyers in 2014-2015 where he registered 28 points including 12 goals.
Stafford played with the Shattuck St. Mary’s Midget A program in 2015-2016, scoring 17 goals and 38 points in 52 games.
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