Of the seven nominees for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s inaugural Male Player of the Year award, two of them have connections to Vancouver.
One is a potentially generational talent, who captured the attention of the entire hockey world with his jaw-dropping performances and piled up individual accolades.
The other is Connor Bedard.
All jokes aside, it’s a tremendous honour that Vancouver Canucks prospect Arturs Silovs was named one of the seven nominees for the IIHF’s Male Player of the Year. Silovs had an outstanding World Hockey Championship with Latvia, as he led his country to the bronze medal — their first-ever medal in IIHF competition — and was named tournament MVP for his efforts.
That performance is what earned him his nomination from the IIHF, as his season in the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks was relatively more modest. Tasked with carrying the load as the team’s number one after the long-term injury to Thatcher Demko, Silovs rose to the challenge and provided steady, if not spectacular, goaltending.
At the World Hockey Championship, however, Silovs was both steady and spectacular. It was evidently enough to put him in the same breath as surefire first-overall pick Connor Bedard, who not only dominated the WHL to the tune of 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games but also led the World Junior Championship in scoring with 23 points in 7 games.
The other five nominees for the award are Andres Ambuhl, Adam Fantilli, Dominik Kubalik, JJ Peterka, and Moritz Seider, each of whom also had a standout performance in an IIHF tournament.
While the award’s voters can cast their ballot for any player that fits the criteria, it’s likely that the winner will be among the seven nominees — most likely Bedard.
Hilary Knight won the IIHF’s Female Player of the Year in an earlier vote.