Zach Wilkie Named SPHL Defenseman of the Year

April 17, 2023 - 12:40 pm

PEORIA, IL – The Southern Professional Hockey League announced today that Rivermen defenseman Zach Wilkie has been named as the league’s defenseman of the year for the 2022-23 season.


Wilkie, a second-year defenseman from Villa Park, Illinois, followed up his staller rookie campaign last year with a breakout season this year. Named one of four assistant captains by Coach Jean-Guy Trudel, at the start of the year, Wilkie quickly became an essential two-way defenseman and a lynchpin in Peoria’s vaunted defensive corps.


“He’s a person that loves the game, he’s teachable and has a high motor for a defenseman,” said Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel. “The best part is that his Defensive game matches his offensive numbers. He’s a complete defenseman and more importantly a Leader and a great teammate.”


Wilkie finished first in scoring among defensemen with 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists) which is a professional career high. He was second in goals among defensemen and assists as well (only behind teammate Nick Neville. In addition, Wilkie led the entire league in plus/minus with a plus-42 rating.


This is Wilkie’s first Defenseman of the Year award in the SPHL, he was most recently named to the All-SPHL 1st team for defensemen this year and was a member of the 2022 SPHL All-Rookie team last season. The Villa Park native is also a back-to-back winner of the Rivermen Fan Favorite award voted on at the end of Peoria’s season.


Peoria will face the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in the second round of the playoffs. Game One of the best-of-three series will take place in Roanoke on Wednesday, April 19 while Game Two will be in Peoria at Carver Arena on Friday, April 21 at 7:15 pm. If necessary, Game Three will also take place at Carver Arena on Sunday, April 23 at 4:15 pm.


Photo: Tim Lester/Field Pass Hockey