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Calgary Hitmen lead the among on WHL's Eastern Conference all stars

NHL.com @NHL

CALGARY - The Calgary Hitmen dominated the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference all-star selections after winning the league's regular-season title.

Defenceman Paul Postma and forwards Brett Sonne and Brandon Kozun were unanimous first-team all-star selections Thursday. Goaltender Martin Jones, defenceman Michael Stone and forward Joel Broda were named to the second all-star team.

Postma is the Eastern Conference finalist for the WHL's defenceman of the year and general manager Kelly Kisio is up against Vancouver's Scott Bonner for executive of the year.

The Hitmen topped the WHL with a 59-9-3-1 record and were scheduled to open the WHL playoffs Thursday against the Edmonton Oiler Kings. They finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League.

All other WHL playoff series open Friday.

The Saskatoon Blades host the Lethbridge Hurricanes; the Brandon Wheat Kings have home-ice advantage against the Kootenay Ice and the Medicine Hat Tigers are in Swift Current to take on the Broncos in the Eastern Conference.

Vancouver meets Prince George, Tri-City is up against Everett, Kelowna faces Kamloops and it's Spokane versus the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Conference.

Saskatoon Blades goaltender Braden Holtby, Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Keith Aulie and Medicine Hat Tigers forward Tyler Ennis round out the first all-star team. Swift Current Broncos defenceman John Negrin, Prince Albert Raiders forward Justin Bernardt and Brandon forward Brayden Schenn were second all-star team selections.

Jordan Weal of the Regina Pats is a finalist for the WHL's rookie award and is up against the Prince George's Brett Connolly of the Western Conference.

Holtby and Chet Pickard of the Tri-City Americans are finalists for the league's goaltending trophy. Postma and Vancouver's Jonathan Blum are vying for the defenceman award.

Ennis is up for the sportsmanship award along with Colin Long of the Kelowna Rockets. Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades and Tyler Maxwell of the Everett Silvertips are finalists for the scholastic award.

Saskatoon's Lorne Molleken and Vancouver's Don Hay are both in the running for the league's top coaching honour.

The award winners will be announced April 29 in Edmonton.

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