Surrey-raised Arshdeep Bains has won the WHL’s Bobby Clarke Trophy as the junior hockey league’s top scorer during the 2021-22 season.
Now a Vancouver Canucks prospect, the Red Deer Rebels winger led all WHL skaters with 69 assists and 112 points (seven more than teammate Ben King), and also finished second in the league with 10 game-winning goals.
Held off the scoresheet just 13 times during his 68 games played in 2021-22, Bains recorded three or more points 17 times during the regular season.
The league’s Kubota Canada-presented top-scorer award is named for former Philadelphia Flyers captain Bob Clarke, a “WHL and NHL legend known to many as one of the toughest and most skilled to ever play the game.”
Bains is the second Red Deer Rebel to capture the Bob Clarke Trophy, joining Justin Mapletoft, the winner in 2000-01.
Bains has now graduated from the WHL after spending his entire career with the Rebels, more than four years after making his WHL debut with the club in December 2017. In 257 regular-season games with Red Deer, he totalled 209 points (77 goals, 132 assists).
Bains signed an entry-level contract with the Canucks in March of this year, and chances are he will make his pro debut with Abbotsford Canucks this fall.
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^^ Also of note: Surrey-raised Justin Sourdif (Oil Kings) will face former @WHLGiants teammate Lukas Svejkovsky in WHL final, which starts tonight in EDM.— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) June 3, 2022
Never before have the Oil Kings and Thunderbirds met in the WHL Playoffs. @SourdifJustin
Bains cheered for and followed the Canucks as a youngster, and as a 10-year-old saw Vancouver advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
“It’s probably the best thing a kid could dream of when they start playing hockey,” he told CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi. “For me to get the opportunity to play in my hometown, it’s super special.”
His journey to the pros isn’t a typical one. Bains was passed over in both the WHL’s Bantam Draft and the NHL Draft. He was forced to earn his contract with the Canucks through hard work, which was noticed years ago by Rebels owner, president general manager Brent Sutter.
Bains was invited to Rebels rookie camp after putting up an eye-popping 56 points in 22 games with the Valley West Hawks (now Giants) of the BC Elite Hockey League. Sutter said he saw Bains take steps every season to become the fully formed player he is today. He noted that Bains became stronger physically and matured in Red Deer.
Red Deer Advocate editor Byron Hackett said Bains’ 2021-22 season is one of the most impressive he’s seen as a reporter who has covered the Rebels and the WHL for many years.
“From day one this season he was playing at a pace I’d never seen from a player before,” he said. “It was akin to how [Connor] McDavid looks like sometimes in the NHL. He was just so fast and so skilled and making plays at such a high pace.”
with file from Ben Lypka, Black Press Media