Warriors Forward Yager Awarded Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy as WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player for 2023-24



By Taylor Rocca via Western Hockey League

CALGARY, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that Moose Jaw Warriors forward and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Brayden Yager has been awarded the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy as WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player for the 2023-24 season. 
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player Finalists

  • B.C. Division – Jordan Keller, Kamloops Blazers
  • Central Division – Gavin Hodnett, Edmonton Oil Kings
  • U.S. Division – Jordan Gavin, Tri-City Americans

The 19-year-old Yager, who hails from Saskatoon, Sask., recorded 35 goals and 60 assists for 95 points in 57 games during the 2023-24 WHL Regular Season, finishing third on the high-powered Warriors in both goals and points.
This represents the second consecutive season Yager has been named the recipient of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy as WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. This is the sixth time a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors has been named WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. 
Yager is the first back-to-back winner of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy since Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers accomplished the feat during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. 
“It’s an honour to receive this award,” Yager said. “I’d like to congratulate the other Division winners on their amazing seasons. I’d like to take the time to thank my coaching staff, my teammates and the entire organization of the Moose Jaw Warriors for all the support and helping me get to where I am today.
“I’d also like to thank my family for all their support throughout the years and everything they’ve done for me.”
The 2022 WHL and Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year eclipsed 30 goals for the second time in his career, while incurring only 20 penalty minutes.
Yager also collected three shorthanded goals and six game-winning goals.
“On behalf of Brad, I am thrilled to honour Brayden Yager of the Moose Jaw Warriors for the second consecutive year as the winner of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy,“ said Leanne Wright, sister of Brad Hornung. “Brayden has continued to excel and surpass personal bests with only 20 minutes in penalties over the 68-game season. On behalf of Brad and the entire Hornung family, I want to congratulate Brayden again and wish him all the best in the future.”
Yager is the WHL’s seventh two-time winner of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy. This is the sixth time in WHL history a player has been named a back-to-back winner of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy. Previous two-time winners include:

  • Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers – 2007-08 and 2008-09
  • Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers – 2004-05 and 2005-06
  • Matt Kinch, Calgary Hitmen – 1998-99 and 2000-01
  • Steve Tsujiura, Medicine Hat Tigers – 1979-80 and 1980-81
  • Steve Tambellini, Lethbridge Broncos – 1976-77 and 1977-78
  • Ron Chipperfield, Brandon Wheat Kings – 1971-72 and 1972-73

Yager, who serves as an alternate captain for the Warriors, was also named Team Canada for the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden, where he netted two goals, three assists and one penalty. 
Originally selected third overall by the Warriors in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft, Yager was also a first-round pick in the NHL Draft, selected 14th overall by Pittsburgh in 2023. 
The 6-foot, 170-pound forward reached major milestones this season, surpassing 100 career goals and hitting a perfect 250 career points with 104 goals and 146 assists in 211 regular-season matches. 
Noted for his talent, desire, and sportsmanlike attitude, Brad Hornung was revered in Western Canadian hockey circles. The Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy for Most Sportsmanlike Player is awarded annually to the player that best combines those same attributes. 
The trophy was rededicated as the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy in 2022 following his passing at the age of 52. 
A rising star for the Regina Pats, Hornung’s career was cut short after the forward was paralyzed from the waist down following a hit in a game on March 1, 1987.
Since then, Hornung’s courageous attitude and inspirational message of perseverance has kept his connection with the game of hockey strong. A former amateur scout for the Chicago Blackhawks, Hornung was a staple in hockey rinks throughout Saskatchewan and a staple of past WHL Awards events. His No. 8 jersey has been retired by the Regina Pats.
The WHL Humanitarian of the Year Award was voted upon by WHL General Managers and members of the media. 
Winners of the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy (since 2004)

  • 2023-24: Brayden Yager, Moose Jaw Warriors
  • 2022-23: Brayden Yager, Moose Jaw Warriors
  • 2021-22: Logan Stankoven, Kamloops Blazers
  • 2020-21: Eli Zummack, Spokane Chiefs
  • 2019-20: Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks
  • 2018-19: Justin Almeida, Moose Jaw Warriors*
  • 2017-18: Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos*
  • 2016-17: Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos
  • 2015-16: Tyler Soy, Victoria Royals
  • 2014-15: Rourke Chartier, Kelowna Rockets*
  • 2013-14: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay ICE
  • 2012-13: Dylan Wruck, Edmonton Oil Kings
  • 2011-12: Mark Stone, Brandon Wheat Kings*
  • 2010-11: Tyler Johnson, Spokane Chiefs
  • 2009-10: Jason Bast, Moose Jaw Warriors*
  • 2008-09: Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers
  • 2007-08: Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers
  • 2006-07: Aaron Gagnon, Seattle Thunderbirds
  • 2005-06: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers*
  • 2004-05: Kris Russell, Medicine Hat Tigers
  • 2003-04: Nigel Dawes, Kootenay ICE

 * – also selected as the Canadian Hockey League Sportsman of the Year

About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL offers a world-class player experience featuring three key cornerstones: hockey development, education, and a safe and positive environment for all participants. A diverse and inclusive organization, the WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 16 located in Western Canada and six in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for close to 60 years. The WHL is also a leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team. 

Back to all News