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 Medicine Hat Tigers

McKenna Wins 2024 APTN Bryan Trottier Most Valuable Player Award

April 15, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Medicine Hat Tigers News Release

Medicine Hat, AB - Medicine Hat Tigers MVP & Rookie of the Year Gavin McKenna (Whitehorse, YT) has been named the winner of the 2024 APTN Bryan Trottier Most Valuable Player Award.

The announcement was made on Saturday's APTN Hockey Night in Canada in Cree broadcast of the Montreal Canadiens/Ottawa Senators Game.

"It's a super cool feeling, you know, being indigenous and getting that recognition," McKenna said. "I'm super proud of who I am and my background.

"It's an award that is pretty big, and it's something that you don't just get because of your hockey talent, it's also stuff within the community. When I go home, I try and help my community as much as I can."

The APTN Bryan Trottier Most Valuable Player Award is given to an Indigenous hockey player who demonstrates on-ice excellence and contributes to the Indigenous community.

Previous winners include Florida Panthers defenceman Brandon Montour and Olympic Gold Medalist/PWHL forward Jamie Lee Rattray.

McKenna, a member of Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation, is the first junior hockey player to earn the award.

The Tigers star is coming off a sensational season that saw him finish his rookie campaign with 34 goals and 63 assists for 97 points in 61 games.

When the 16-year-old isn't on the ice, he says he feels most at home connecting with nature in his hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon.

"Being out in nature and stuff, you know, I hunt and fish," McKenna added. "It's all the traditions that the Indigenous peoples have and, you know, being a part of that was super cool growing up."

He also hopes to share his love of the game with other young people in the northern territory.

"When I was a little kid, I used to do these hockey camps and we had people like NHLers come up and help out with them," McKenna recalled. "These camps are still going on to this day. So I'm kind of now that guy that comes and helps out with the kids. One day I was that kid who looked up to all these guys and now to kind of have these guys look up to me is a pretty surreal feeling. I just want to help out with these kids as much as I can, because Whitehorse isn't the biggest city out there, but we've got lots of young kids who love hockey."

McKenna will receive a hand-carved hockey stick designed by Two Spirit Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter.

Hunter is well-known for his work with the Chicago Blackhawks, including designing a hockey mask for Minnesota Wild netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

Trottier played more than 200 games in the then-WCHL with the Swift Current Broncos, amassing 103 goals and 198 assists for 301 points.

He was named the 1975 WCHL Player of the Year and is considered one of the greatest players to ever suit up in the league.

Trottier went on to a Hall-of-Fame career in the NHL, winning six Stanley Cups as a player, capturing Rookie of the Year in 1975 and going on to earn the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player, the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the league in 1979 and the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP in 1980, among countless other accolades. He won a seventh Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche.

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