Wednesday, April 27, 2011


CALGARY, AB. – The Western Hockey League and the WHL Alumni Association announced today the recipients of this year’s WHL Alumni Achievement Awards.  In the professional hockey category, the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award is former Flin Flon Bomber Bob Clarke while in the Academic Scholarship category, the recipient is former WHL defenceman Jeff Zorn.

The WHL Alumni Achievement Award annually recognizes WHL graduates who pursued professional hockey and achieved a distinguished career in the NHL as well as an Alumnus who has obtained a post secondary education through the WHL Scholarship Program and has moved on to a highly successful business career.  The recipients are selected annually by the WHL Alumni Association Executive Committee, which is headed by former WHL and NHL graduate Kelly Hrudey.

Professional Hockey Recipient – Bob Clarke

Bob Clarke, a native of Flin Flon, Manitoba, appeared in four games with the Flin Flon Bombers during the 1965-66 season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and 45 games through the 1966-67 season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, prior to the organization joining the Western Hockey League in 1967.  In the two seasons to follow Clarke exploded offensively in the WHL helping lead the Bombers to two straight WHL Championship appearances.  During the 1967-68 season Clarke captured the WHL scoring title with 51 goals, 117 assists for 168 points in 59 games and led the Bombers to the WHL Finals were they were defeated in four straight games by the Estevan Bruins.  The next year, 1968-69, he led all WHL scorers once again scoring 51 goals, 86 assists for 137 points in 58 games helping the Bombers capture their first WHL Championship defeating the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 in the series.    

Clarke was a second round selection (17th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft.  He went on to an NHL career that spanned 15 seasons and 1,144 games from 1969-1984.  He played his entire NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers organization.

Clarke was named the Flyers' captain at age 23, the youngest to ever assume that role in NHL history at the time, and led the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ to two Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.  Personal NHL accolades came early in his career capturing the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication) in 1972, the Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL’s MVP in 1973, 1975 and 1976, the Lester B. Pearson Award (player’s choice MVP) in 1974, and the Frank J. Selke Trophy (defensive forward) in 1983, among many others.  In addition to his NHL honors, Clarke was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.) and the trophy he won in 1968 and 1969 with the Flin Flon Bombers, given annually to the Western Hockey League's top scorer, was re-named the Bob Clarke Trophy.

Clarke retired on May 15, 1984, to become the General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.  On November 15, 1984, Bobby Clarke Night was held at the Spectrum. The Flyers retired Clarke's #16 jersey and unveiled the Bobby Clarke Trophy which is awarded annually to the Flyers' Most Valuable Player.  Three years later Clarke was a first ballot inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame.  He finished his career 4th all-time in assists (852) and 11th all-time in points (1210), and now currently sits 24th all-time in assists and 42nd all-time in points (as of completion of the 2010–11 NHL season[update]).

Clarke resigned as General Manager of the Flyers on October 22, 2006. During his 19 seasons at the helm of the Flyers, the team compiled a 714-443-199 record, including 16 playoff appearances, three Eastern Conference Championships, three appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals and eight division titles.  Now a Flyers Senior Vice President, Clarke is involved in aspects of the Flyers’ player development program.

Academic Recipient – Jeff Zorn
Jeff Zorn, originally from Tisdale, Saskatchewan, played five seasons in the Western Hockey League from 1995-2000.  Originally selected in the fifth round of the 1994 WHL Bantam Draft by the Moose Jaw Warriors, Zorn spent the majority of his career with the Prince George Cougars, before joining the Saskatoon Blades as a 20 year old.  During his five years in the WHL, the defenceman appeared in 252 games, recording 34 goals, 105 points and 316 penalty minutes.

Following his junior hockey career, Zorn chose immediately to utilize his five year WHL Scholarship and enrolled in Medicine at the University of Alberta in 2000.  Subsequently, Zorn also went on to a five year hockey career with the University of Alberta Golden Bears from 2000-05, winning a Canadian University National title in 2005.  He played in 190 Canadian University games compiling 27 goals and 130 points.  He captured the Canada West Freshman of the Year Award in 2001, was named Canada West Defenceman of the Year in 2002 and in 2004 was honoured with the Dr. Randy Gregg Award as the Canadian University Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year.

The four time Canadian University Academic All-Canadian (2002-05), Zorn graduated from University of Alberta Medical School with his Bachelor’s in 2008 and received his Doctoral in 2009.  Dr. Jeffrey Zorn is currently in his second year of a five year residency, specializing in urology at the University of Alberta Hospital.

The WHL Alumni Association was formed in November 2007 to take an active role in assisting with the operation and promotion of the WHL at both the Club and League level.  The WHL Alumni Association hopes to provide a medium through which past players, coaches, officials and management personnel can reconnect with former teammates and continue to make a contribution to the growth and development of the WHL.

The WHL Alumni Achievement Award recipients will be in attendance and honoured at the 2011 WHL Awards Luncheon being held in Calgary, Alberta on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011.

Past Winners
Professional Hockey – Joe Sakic
WHL Scholarship – Gavin McLeod

Professional Hockey – Trevor Linden
WHL Scholarship – Dan Hulak

Professional Hockey – Lanny McDonald
WHL Scholarship – Blair St. Martin

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