Chiefs big SWAB award winners

In case people need reminding, Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters reaffirmed 2008 was the Spokane Chiefs’ year.

The Memorial Cup junior hockey champions swept three of five annual SWABs awards, garnering team, coach and amateur male athlete of the year.

They’ll be recognized during Wednesday’s 31st annual Spokane Regional Sports Commission Youth Awards Luncheon at noon in the new Convention Center.

Wednesday’s luncheon will reveal the 2008 junior awards winners. The event, in front of more than 1,000 high school athletes, is hosted annually by the SRSC and sponsored by numerous area businesses. Major sponsors are State Farm Insurance, Rockwood Clinic and Spokane Hoopfest.

KXLY sports director Dennis Patchin returns as master of ceremonies and will be joined for the first time by KXLY news anchor Robyn Nance. Banquet chairman is Randy Ryan.

Special awards include the Rockwood Clinic Trainer of the Year and Spokane Hoopfest Sportsmanship Award. Ticket information can be obtained from Deana McClenny at the SRSC, 742-9379.

Team of the Year Chiefs and Coach of the Year Bill Peters captured the biggest prize in junior hockey while compiling a 66-20-1-6 record. They won their final nine playoff games in doing so.

Dustin Tokarski, the Chiefs goal tender and Amateur Male Athlete winner, allowed just 1.38 goals per game during the regular season and 1.78 during the Memorial Cup, where he saved 53 shots in the title contest. He was both Western Conference and Memorial Cup MVP.

A pair of repeat winners captured the other awards. Brad Walker, who set an American record in the pole vault at 19 feet, 9¾ inches, was named Professional Athlete of the Year for the fourth straight year. The University High and University of Washington graduate qualified for the Olympics in Beijing.

Angie Bjorklund, another U-Hi grad, is Amateur Female Athlete of the Year for the second year. She was named Southeast Conference Freshman of the Year in basketball at Tennessee, starting 28 games and becoming the first area athlete to play for an NCAA women’s basketball champion.

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