Bartosak named WHL’s best goaltender

CALGARY — His numbers were simply too good for him to be considered second best. Red Deer Rebels Czech star Patrik Bartosak was honoured Wednesday as the Western Hockey League goaltender of the year, a fitting follow-up to a masterful season in which he led the team to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

CALGARY — His numbers were simply too good for him to be considered second best.

Red Deer Rebels Czech star Patrik Bartosak was honoured Wednesday as the Western Hockey League goaltender of the year, a fitting follow-up to a masterful season in which he led the team to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

Bartosak returned to his home in Koprivnice, Czech Republic, two weeks ago and was unavailable for comment, but did offer the following via Twitter: “This thing means a lot to me and I really appreciate it. Huge thanks goes to everybody who supports my team and me.”

Rebels associate coach Jeff Truitt was only too willing to toast the WHL’s best stopper following the WHL awards luncheon at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

“He’s absolutely deserving of this award with the numbers he put up and how he was relied upon this year,” said Truitt. “He kept us in all the games and his numbers were outstanding compared to a lot of the other guys and there was quite a deep crop of good goaltenders this year. For him to be recognized like this is a real honour for him.”

Bartosak beat out Portland’s Mac Carruth, the Western Conference nominee, for the Del Wilson Trophy. Carruth played 2,275 minutes and finished second in the league with a 2.06 goals-against average, six shutouts, a .929 save percentage and a 30-7-0-2 win-loss record for the WHL regular-season and Western Conference playoff champion Winterhawks.

Bartosak, meanwhile, was fourth in the WHL with a 2.26 GAA, plus had a league-best (among starters) save percentage of .935 and five shutouts. He was flawless in shootouts, with his 8-0 record in that department helping him to an overall slate of 33-14-5-0 while playing 3,134 regular-season minutes.

But there’s more to Bartosak than statistics. His competitive spirit and approach to the game come to mind.

“His focus is unbelievable,” said Truitt. “He just comes to work every day and does what he needs to do. Nothing really fazes him and it showed this season in his play. He was very consistent.

“Goaltenders are all by themselves back there. They have to keep themselves ready to go and he certainly does a good job of that.”

The six-foot-one netminder, who celebrated his 20th birthday on March 29, has been personable and approachable since joining the Rebels in 2011.

“He’s such a great guy. He has a great demeanour about him and that’s important,” said Truitt.

Bartosak is eligible for June’s NHL entry draft and is a good bet to be selected at some point considering his 2012-13 season accomplishments.

The Rebels are hoping he will be drafted since an NHL team would be able to wait a year to sign him, leaving the Eastern Conference first-team all-star with the option of returning to Red Deer for his WHL overage season.

“If we get him back it will be a great bonus for us,” said Truitt.

l The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed their first pick in the 2012 bantam draft — the first pick overall — to a standard WHL player contract.

Barzal played for the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs in the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League this season. In 34 games he had 103 points on 29 goals and 74 assists with 34 penalty minutes. He set the BCMMHL record for most assists in a season.

He also represented B.C. at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in November. He had two goals and two assists in four games at the tournament and was selected as an all-star.

Just Posted

One person in hospital after gunfire erupts at Alberta shopping mall

AIRDRIE, Alta. — A man is in hospital and police are looking… Continue reading

Olds-born writer to be honoured at Lt-Governor awards ceremony at Maskawacis

Marilyn Dumont will share the stage with artists Walter Jule and Katie Ohe

‘Tea with the Brontes’ is part of Red Deer’s Alberta Culture Days offerings

Live music, theatre, literary and visual arts will be featured around the city Sept. 27-29

Innisfail school to benefit from book fundraising campaign

Indigo Love of Reading Foundation’s Adopt a School program

Facing US ban, Huawei emerging as stronger tech competitor

SHENZHEN, China — Long before President Donald Trump threatened to cut off… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Hughes scores 2 in preseason debut for Devils

Jack Hughes scored twice in his NHL preseason debut, including the winner… Continue reading

Opinion: City must aim for zero per cent tax hike

Red Deer city council is discussing the benefits of multi-year budgets, which… Continue reading

Flames winger Czarnik notches pair in exhibition win over Canucks in B.C.

VICTORIA — Forward Austin Czarnik says the Calgary Flames are starting the… Continue reading

Haviah Mighty wins Polaris prize for her album ‘13th Floor’

TORONTO — Haviah Mighty has won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize for… Continue reading

Celebs to read bedtime story to help fight homelessness

LOS ANGELES — Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren will read a… Continue reading

Iowa City student killed in B.C. bus crash remembered as kind soccer talent

VICTORIA — One of two 18-year-old students who died when a tour… Continue reading

Elizabeth May seeks to blow past political pack with platform roll out

OTTAWA — Green Leader Elizabeth May pushed past the political pack Monday… Continue reading

Most Read