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Canmore Eagles player takes home AJHL's top defenceman nod

“I know how hard it is to win something like that and I thought about how hard I worked in the off season to get to this point, and it was pretty cool to see my hard work rewarded,” said Mortensen.
Canmore Eagles defenceman Brody Mortensen celebrates a teammate's goal against the Whitecourt Wolverines at the Canmore Recreation Centre on Jan. 25. JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – Brody Mortensen of the Canmore Eagles has earned defenceman of the year in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

The second year Eagles’ player, who is committed to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, earned the nod following an off-season in preparation for the 2023-24 season.

“I know how hard it is to win something like that and I thought about how hard I worked in the off-season to get to this point, and it was pretty cool to see my hard work rewarded,” said Mortensen.

The Eagles also nominated Brody Tallman for the award as he has also been a driving factor in their defence and is leading the league in goals by a defenceman. Tallman ended the regular season with 17 goals and 45 points overall, and Mortensen put 12 in the net and earned 34 points overall.

“We are incredibly proud to see Brody Mortensen receive this well-deserved recognition,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles head coach and general manager, in a news release. “The Eagles were fortunate to have two defencemen worthy of this award this season, Brody Mortensen and Brody Tallman. They played high-end minutes against the league’s top players each night and both represented the Eagles to the highest standard.”

Although Mortensen and Tallman couldn’t share the title, they were both named to the all-league team. Mortensen was selected to the first team and Tallman was placed on the second team.

“I think it’s a really cool achievement for myself and some players who are the best of the best in the league. It's a pretty special feeling to be named to that part of that group,” said Mortensen.

In the regular season, Mortensen also twice earned the league’s defenceman of the week.

“I probably got off to a little bit of a slow start the way I was playing, it wasn’t up to the way I viewed myself as a player, the way I like to play, but I got hot kind of midway through the year and then just kind of kept rolling with it the rest of the year to finish off strong,” said Mortensen.

In preparation for the next level in the NCAA's Division I American Collegiate Hockey Association, Mortensen said he knows to expect a challenge.

“It’s going to definitely be a big jump going from junior to college level. It’s going to be a lot of great players. Everyone’s going to be the best at what they do, so I think it’s gonna be a fun challenge,” said Mortensen. “I’m looking forward to seeing where my strengths in my game are compared to them.”

The top forward and MVP award went to Luka Sukovic of the Bonnyville Pontiacs. Sukovic ended the regular season with the most goals in the league and third most points.

The top goaltender award was presented to Ben Charette of the Whitecourt Wolverines, who led the league with a 2.40 goals against average and save percentage of 0.925.

Additionally, Canmore Eagles’ Carter Rimstad was named to the all-academic team due to his dedication to school and athletics.

This year’s awards didn’t include the five AJHL teams who left in February to join the British Columbia Hockey League.

“We nominated Mortensen for best defenceman and Tallman for the MVP. I was actually really surprised that Tallman didn’t get a league nomination from the MVP category. I mean, he led the league in scoring out of the defenseman and had a tremendous year, so I thought we might have an MVP and a defenceman of the year recipient,” said Milne.

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