Calgary Herald article (Sonne takes individual bow)April 30 2009 at 7:32 AM
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Sonne takes individual bow
now goes after team glory; Hitman named top player, Kisio top executive
By John Down, Calgary Herald
April 30, 2009 4:03 AM
Head coach Dave Lowry directs traffic during practice Wednesday at the Saddledome as the Hitmen prepare for the WHL final.Photograph by: Dean Bicknell, Calgary Herald, Calgary HeraldA first-team all-star nod, a world junior championship gold medal, an entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues and now the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy.
"It's been a good run so far, but there's a lot more I still want to accomplish," said Brett Sonne, after the 19-year-old centre with the Calgary Hitmen took a bow Wednesday as the Western Hockey League's player of the year.
"It's humbling for sure but, at the same time, I recognize I wouldn't be anywhere without my teammates, my coaching staff or my family, for that matter. It's been a great year, but it hasn't been an individual effort at all."
Well, there are some who might argue that last point given the season the native of Maple Ridge, B. C., has put forth. Forty-eight goals, 100 points and a plus-39 in 62 regular-season games while playing an integral part in the Hitmen's unbeaten drive through three playoff rounds to the WHL championship series.
Needless to say, his efforts haven't gone unnoticed, but his eyes are on much bigger prizes. Namely the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the Memorial Cup.
"This is nice and all," said Sonne of the Four Broncos silverware. "It's a great feather to have, but it's not what you play 72 games for. We've had some success, but there's still four more games to win before the big dance comes along."
Those four wins will be needed against the Kelowna Rockets to give the Hitmen just their second WHL title in franchise history and a berth in next month's Memorial Cup battle at Rimouski, Que.
Sonne beat out league scoring champ Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Vancouver Giants to give the Hitmen their third player-of-the-player trophy in the past four seasons, following defenceman Karl Alzner (2008) and goaltender Justin Pogge (2006).
While his offensive numbers were glaring, it was Sonne's work ethic and ability to play effectively in all situations on all parts of the ice surface that probably decided the vote.
"Obviously, with games played and age, you gain experience," he said. "You learn how to play the game better and I think this was the kind of year where I've had enough learning the ropes . . . that it's my time to help lead my team to a winning record."
Sonne wasn't the only Hitman honoured during Wednesday's luncheon in Edmonton as general manager Kelly Kiso scooped up the executive of the year award for a second time. Paul Postma, on the other hand, lost to Vancouver's Jon Blum for top defenceman.
The Hitmen, who set or equalled 22 franchise records during the regular season and have felled or set at least another half-dozen in the post-season, open against the Rockets on Friday at 7:30 p. m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Game 2 comes right back Saturday at 7 p. m. before the series shifts to Kelowna for the third and fourth games on Monday and Wednesday. All games will be televised by Shaw Cable.
"They've proven they can beat the top teams in the league and they come to play every night," said Sonne of his home province opponents. "We expect their best effort, but we bring that on . . . we accept the challenge.
"It should be a helluva series." THIS AND THAT: The Hitmen will have the No. 22 pick in the first round of today's annual bantam draft, also being held in Edmonton . . . The Rockets arrived in town Wednesday afternoon and were scheduled to stage a brief skate at the East Twin Arenas before sliding onto Saddledome ice for another practice this afternoon.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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