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Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Defenceman Handed out as 2019-20 Year-End Awards Presented by Great Western Brewing Continue

April 18, 2020 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Prince Albert Raiders News Release

Prince Albert, SK - The Prince Albert Raiders announced the winner of two more of their 2019-20 Year-End Awards Presented By Great Western Brewing on Saturday.

The first award of the day was the George Cowie Award as Rookie of the Year Presented By Broda Construction, which was won by Ilya Usau.

Usau signed with the Raiders during this year's training camp. In his debut season in the WHL, he scored 22 goals and added 30 assists in 58 games to lead the Raiders in rookie scoring and finish fifth among freshmen in the league.

During the season, Usau missed time to represent Belarus at the 2020 IIHF World Under-20 Championship Division 1A tournament, picking up a goal and two assists.

Earlier this month, Usau was ranked 108th among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Last Five Winners of the George Cowie Award as Rookie of the Year

2018-19: Kaiden Guhle and Ozzy Wiesblatt

2017-18: Justin Nachbaur

2016-17: Cole Fonstad

2015-16: Parker Kelly

2014-15: Rylan Parentau and Simon Stransky

Saturday's awards wrapped up with the presentation of the Jim Neilson Award as Most Valuable Defenceman Presented By North Star Signs. This year's winners were Kaiden Guhle and Zack Hayes.

Guhle and Hayes anchored the Raiders' top pairing for most of the season.

In his sophomore season, Guhle led all Raiders' blueliners in scoring with 11 goals and 29 assists. The Sherwood Park, AB product was the top-ranked WHL player and eighth among North American skaters NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for the NHL Draft.

Hayes wrapped up his WHL career with a career-high seven goals and 16 assists. He also tied for the team lead with a plus-37 rating. His 68 penalty minutes incurred were the fewest of his WHL career. Earlier this month, Hayes signed an AHL contract with the Vegas Golden Knights organization.

Last Five Winners of the Jim Neilson Award as Most Valuable Defenceman

2018-19: Brayden Pachal

2017-18: Vojtech Budik

2016-17: Vojtech Budik

2015-16: Brendan Guhle and Jesse Lees

2014-15: Sawyer Lange

Tomorrow, the Raiders will share messages from their graduating 20-year-old players. The awards will conclude on Monday as the final two are announced.

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