Anholt Named WHL Executive of the Year

Lethbridge, AB – 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 2015-2016, 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 of 2014. In his time with the organization, the product of Naicam, Saskatchewan has helped lead the Hurricanes to five consecutive playoff berths, including a Central Division title in 2015-2016 and back-to-back Eastern Conference Championship Series 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 2019-2020 shortened season, the Hurricanes collected 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.

The Hurricanes were also named the WHL’s Business of the Year Award winner in 2019-2020 after finishing as the runner-up in 2018-2019. 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 also have two players nominated for league awards as well as Calen Addison (Defenseman of the Year) and Dylan Cozens (Player of the Year) have been named Eastern Conference finalists. The WHL will announce those awards on May 19th and 20th.

WHL Release: 

The Western Hockey League announced today Peter Anholt, General Manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, as the recipient of the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy (WHL Executive of the Year).

In his fifth full season as General Manager of the Hurricanes, Anholt was the architect of a Club that skated to a 37-19-2-5 record through 63 games. The Hurricanes placed third in the WHL’s Central Division and were competitive among the top teams in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. The performance marked the Hurricanes’ fifth-straight season of 30 or more victories, one behind tying the Club record.

Powering them to success were a number of new and familiar faces for the Hurricanes as well as the southern Alberta region. Anholt’s selection of Slovakian forward Oliver Okuliar at the 2019 CHL Import Draft boosted the Hurricanes’ scoring prowess, while the addition of former Hurricane Brett Davis helped to strengthen the Hurricanes down the stretch. Anholt also acquired Dino Kambeitz to provide more offensive options for his group.

Finally, Anholt has built local ties through the WHL Bantam Draft, selecting Lethbridge products Zack Stringer and Erick Roest to complement the team’s promising future.

The Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy honours a WHL Club Executive for their contributions to their team’s overall performance on and off the ice during the WHL Regular Season. 

A famed Canadian sports broadcaster, Saunders became known as the radio voice of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. As a commentator and broadcaster, Saunders became the voice of Canadian sport nationally and internationally. Saunders called six Memorial Cup Championships and predominantly called Canadian and World Curling Championships as well. He also commentated at five Olympic Games as well as three Commonwealth Games. 

In 1986, Saunders was inducted to Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, Football Reporters of Canada wing. In 1996, he was inducted to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame as a builder.

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