By Jensen, Randy on May 9, 2020.
Second time Anholt has won the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
The Western Hockey League announced Friday that Lethbridge Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt has been named the recipient of the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Executive of the Year.
Anholt, who was the Lloyd Saunders Award winner in 2015-16, has served as the general manager of the Hurricanes for parts of six seasons. Originally hired in July 2014 as the assistant GM, Anholt assumed both the head coach and GM roles in December 2014. In his time with the organization, the product of Naicam, Sask., has helped lead the Hurricanes to five consecutive playoff berths, including a Central Division title in 2015-16 and back-to-back Eastern Conference championship series appearances in 2017 and 2018.
“First and foremost, this is the ultimate team award as far as an individual award can go,” said Anholt. “I don’t think you can have any success at all as a general manager without having good people around you and I’ve said this before but I think the hires of Brent Kisio and Rob MacLachlan five years ago has helped us put together a group of people that get the job done.”
In the 2019-20 shortened season, the Hurricanes had a record of 37-19-2-5 in 63 games finishing third in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. Over the last five years, the Canes have posted a record of 200-115-18-14 to lead all Eastern Conference teams in regular season victories in that span; only Portland (203) and Everett (222) have won more games over the last five years in the WHL.
While it’s second time Anholt has won the award, he said this award was a little sweeter than the first.
“This one is may be a little more satisfying,” said Anholt. “It’s been a number of years and we still have a good team. A lot of people thought we wouldn’t be as good as we were. We were cautiously optimistic, but we had two world-class players in Calen Addison and Dylan Cozens and two returning goaltenders.”
Anholt added the acquisition of Dino Kambeitz and the drafting of European Oliver Okuliar were also key to the team’s success, along with the play of the Canes’ 17-year-old players.
The Hurricanes were also named the WHL’s Business of the Year Award winner in 2019-20 after finishing as the runner-up in 2018-19. It is just the fourth time in WHL history that one organization has won the Business Award as well as the Executive Award in the same year since the Business Award was first awarded in 1991. The others were: Regina Pats (2017), Calgary Hitmen (2004) and the Spokane Chiefs (1996).
“The job that Terry Huisman and his staff has done has been just remarkable,” added Anholt. “When we won the Business of the Year award, I was as happy as can be because that shows how much of a step we’ve taken as an organization.”
The Hurricanes have two players nominated for league awards as well as Calen Addison (Defenceman of the Year) and Dylan Cozens (Player of the Year) have been named Eastern Conference finalists. The WHL will announce those awards on May 19 and 20.
Catch up on all the latest on the Lethbridge Hurricanes by visiting the team’s website at http://www.lethbridgehurricanes.com, and/or follow on Twitter @WHLHurricanes.