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Annual CHL 'Best of the Best' Poll Results Announced

March 8, 2007 - Central Hockey League (CHL) News Release

The annual Central Hockey League 'Best of the Best' poll results are in, based on voting among CHL players, coaches and operational staff from each of the CHL's 17 clubs. Expanded to 46 categories this season, teams voted to determine winners, in their completely unscientific opinion, of categories ranging from 'Best Overall Player' (Youngstown's Jeff Christian) to 'Best Mascot' (Stomp of the Amarillo Gorillas) and everything in between. Each team provided their top three choices for each category, with first place votes counting as five points, second place votes counting as two points and third place votes counting as a single point.

Christian's 104 points this season lead the CHL, and he was also selected as 'Best on Power Play', while linemate Chris Richards (102 points to date) earned both 'Best Stickhandler' and 'Best Playmaker' recognition. Colorado sniper Riley Nelson also was selected in dual categories, handily winning 'Best Skater' and 'Best Penalty Killer' accolades and leads the CHL with eight shorthanded goals. Other individuals taking home top votes in multiple categories were Tulsa center Dave Rattray ('Best Defensive Forward' and 'Best Player on Face-Offs') and Bossier-Shreveport captain Dan Wildfong, earning the distinction of being selected as 'Best Leader' along with 'Most Annoying Player'. Colorado forward Ryan Tobler also won a pair of categories, named 'Best Power Forward' along with 'Best Fighter - Heavyweight', while Laredo's Jeff Bes earned 'Smartest Player' distinction. CHL leading goal scorer Brent Kelly of the Arizona Sundogs was highly thought of in several departments, voted the CHL's 'Most Gentlemanly Player' while finishing second in both 'Best Player' and 'Best Stickhandler' voting and third in 'Best Skater' rankings.

The Eagles franchise took home first place in a CHL-high total of eight categories, also earning top marks in the 'Best Fans', 'Toughest Building to Win In' (Budweiser Events Center), 'Best Cheerleaders' (Eagles Chicks) and 'Best Host Hotel' (Fort Collins Marriott) rankings. The Oklahoma City Blazers also were well recognized with six top rankings, including 'Best Bodychecker' (Tyler Fleck), 'Best Fighter - Pound for Pound' (Graham Dearle), 'Best Team Uniforms', 'Best PA Announcer' (Ben Buckland), and 'Best on Ice Promotions' while dominating 'Best Arena' (Ford Center) voting. The New Mexico Scorpions earned a pair of top rankings with 'Best Goaltender' (David Cacciola) and Best Defensive Defenseman (Aaron MacInnis), with the expansion Rocky Mountain Rage recognized as having the 'Best Equipment & Training Staff' in the CHL.

Selected as 'Hardest Working Team' once again were the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, while Laredo's Terry Ruskowski was named 'Best Coach'. Corpus Christi right winger Derrick McIver finally received some much deserved recognition as the CHL's "Most Underrated Player', while slick defender Derek Landmesser won the 'Best Offensive Defenseman' voting. Wichita sniper Joe Blaznek was selected as the CHL's 'Hardest Shooter', while Thunder supporters were again easily named the League's 'Most Annoying Fans'. Jim Erickson of the Memphis RiverKings was voted 'Best Broadcaster', with Laredo's Joe Dominey and Corpus Christi's Josh Bogorad finishing second and third respectively. Referee Steve Cruickshank was the most highly thought of on-ice official, selected as the CHL's "Best Referee' after earning 10 of 17 top rankings.

In off the ice categories, the Odessa Jackalopes received top marks for 'Best Logo' and 'Best Arena Concessions' (Ector County Coliseum), while the Lubbock Cotton Kings were recognized for providing both the 'Best Press Box' and 'Best Game Notes' in the CHL. The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees won both the 'Best Team Website' and 'Best Locker Rooms' (Dodge Arena) categories. Austin, Texas, home of the Ice Bats, was named 'Best City', narrowly edging out Oklahoma City, while Bossier-Shreveport's Mudbug Boilers repeated as winners of the "Best Booster Club' category.

2006-2007 Central Hockey League Best of the Best Poll Results

Points awarded for each voting category: 1st= 5, 2nd=3, 3rd=1

*1st Total Points, then 1st Place Votes in (X)

1 Best Overall Player
1 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (55, 8)
2 - Brent Kelly, Arizona (34, 3)
3 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (27, 3)


2 Best Skater
1 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (56, 10)
2 - Joe Blaznek, Wichita (36, 4)
3 - Brent Kelly, Arizona (18, 2)


3 Best Stickhandler
1 - Chris Richards, Youngstown (29, 5)
2 - Brent Kelly, Arizona (26, 3)
3 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (19, 3)


4 Best Playmaker
1 - Chris Richards, Youngstown (42, 7)
2 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (32, 4)
3 - Jeff Bes, Laredo (14, 1)


5 Smartest Player
1 - Jeff Bes, Laredo (32, 5)
2 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (26, 4)
3 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (16, 1)


6 Best Goaltender
1 - David Cacciola, New Mexico (32, 4)
2 - John DeCaro, Bossier-Shreveport (27, 3)
3 - Sebastien Laplante, Wichita (21, 2)


7 Most Underrated Player
1 - Derrick McIver, Corpus Christi (24, 3)
2 - Cory Stillman, Arizona (17, 2)
3 - Rich Hansen, Amarillo (15, 1)


8 Best On Power Play
1 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (37, 5)
2 - Chris Richards, Youngstown (25, 2)
3 - Derek Landmesser, Memphis (19, 3)


9 Best Penalty Killer
1 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (61, 11)
2 - Craig Hartsburg, Colorado 16, 1)
3 - Joe Blaznek, Wichita (12, 1)


10 Hardest Shooter
1 - Joe Blaznek, Wichita (31, 5)
2 - David Masse, Rio Grande Valley (22, 2)
3 - Aaron MacInnis, New Mexico (15, 2)


11 Best Defensive Forward
1 - Dave Rattray, Tulsa (24, 3)
2 - Craig Hartsburg, Colorado (21, 3)
3 - Serge Dube, Laredo (14, 2)


12 Best Offensive Defenseman
1 - Derek Landmesser, Memphis (49, 7)
2 - Brad Williamson, Colorado (43, 6)
3 - Mike Burgoyne, Oklahoma City (20, 2)


13 Best Defensive Defenseman
1 - Aaron MacInnis, New Mexico (22, 2)
2 - Quade Lightbody, Bossier-Shreveport (20, 2)
3 - Tyler Fleck, Oklahoma City (14, 2)


14 Best Player On Face-Offs
1 - Dave Rattray, Tulsa (22, 3)
2 - Jason Cirone, Rio Grande Valley (19, 2)
3 - Forbes MacPherson, Bossier-Shreveport (15, 2)


15 Best Bodychecker
1 - Tyler Fleck, Oklahoma City (23, 4)
2 - Daniel Tetrault, Wichita (19, 2)
3 - Derek Landmesser, Memphis (14, 1)


16 Best Fighter (Heavyweight)
1 - Ryan Tobler, Colorado (32, 5)
2 - Adam Stefishen, Rocky Mountain (24, 3)
3 - Jeff Ewasko, Odessa (19, 3)


17 Best Fighter (Pound for Pound)
1 - Graham Dearle, Oklahoma City (32, 5)
2 - David Silverstone, Amarillo (28, 4)
3 - Fraser Filipic, Colorado (26, 3)


18 Best Power Forward
1 - Ryan Tobler, Colorado (51, 7)
2 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (37, 6)
3 - Cory Stillman, Arizona (12, 1)


19 Best Leader
1 - Dan Wildfong, Bossier-Shreveport (35, 5)
2 - Jeff Christian, Youngstown (22, 3)
3 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (16, 2)


20 Most Gentlemanly Player
1 - Brent Kelly, Arizona (41, 5)
2 - Riley Nelson, Colorado (19, 3)
3 - Jason Duda, Wichita (8, 1)


21 Most Annoying Player
1 - Dan Wildfong, Bossier-Shreveport (42, 7)
2 - Chris Greene, Arizona (26, 4)
3 - Bryan Lachapelle, Tulsa (15, 1)


22 Best Rookie
1 - Bobby Chaumont, Laredo (61, 8)
2 - Lance Herauf, New Mexico (25, 4)
3 - Ryan McLeod, New Mexico (10, 1)


23 Best Coach
1 - Terry Ruskowski, Laredo (42, 5)
2 - Kevin McClelland, Memphis (33, 4)
3 - Scott Muscutt, Bossier-Shreveport (27, 4)


24 Best Equipment / Training Staff
1 - Rocky Mountain Rage (30, 4)
2 - Laredo Bucks (28, 4)
3 - Oklahoma City Blazers (27, 4)


25 Best Fans
1 - Colorado Eagles (42, 4)
2 - Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (30, 4)
3 - Oklahoma City Blazers (29, 4)


26 Most Annoying Fans
1 - Wichita Thunder (56, 10)
2 - Austin Ice Bats (22, 3)
3 - Laredo Bucks (16, 1)


27 Toughest Building to Win In
1 - Budweiser Events Center, Colorado (61, 11)
2 - CenturyTel Center, Bossier-Shreveport (28, 1)
3 - Laredo Entertainment Center, Laredo (22, 3)


28 Hardest Working Team
1 - Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (56, 7)
2 - Laredo Bucks (21, 2)
3 - New Mexico Scorpions (17, 0)


29 Best Referee
1 - Steve Cruickshank (58, 10)
2 - Keith Kaval (26, 4)
3 - Tudor Floru (14, 1)


30 Best Arena
1 - Ford Center, Oklahoma City (69, 13)
2 - Tim's Toyota Center, Arizona (22, 2)
3 - Broomfield Event Center, Rocky Mountain (18, 1)


31 Best Locker Rooms
1 - Dodge Arena, Rio Grande Valley (38, 6)
2 - Ford Center, Oklahoma City (36, 6)
3 - CenturyTel Center, Bossier-Shreveport (24, 3)


32 Best Team Logo
1 - Odessa Jackalopes (30, 4)
2 - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (24, 3)
3 - Rocky Mountain Rage (18, 2)


33 Best Team Uniforms
1 - Oklahoma City Blazers (32, 6)
2 - Colorado Eagles (27, 4)
3 - Tulsa Oilers (18, 1)


34 Best Broadcaster
1 - Jim Erickson, Memphis (40, 6)
2 - Joe Dominey, Laredo (36, 5)
3 - Josh Bogorad, Corpus Christi (22, 1)


35 Best PA Announcer
1 - Ben Buckland, Oklahoma City (46, 8)
2 - Ryan Pritt, Youngstown (20, 2)
3 - Reed Saunders, Colorado (15, 1)


36 Best Press Box
1 - City Bank Coliseum, Lubbock (31, 4)
2 - American Bank Center, Corpus Christi (19, 2)
3 - Budweiser Events Center, Colorado (14, 2)


37 Best Game Notes
1 - Lubbock Cotton Kings (33, 4)
2 - Memphis RiverKings (25, 4)
3 - Laredo Bucks (22, 2)


38 Best Team Website
1 - Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (23, 3)
2 - Oklahoma City Blazers (19, 3)
3 - Amarillo Gorillas (18, 2)


39 Best Mascot
1 - Stomp, Amarillo (23, 3)
2 - Fang, Austin (21, 3)
3 - Clawed, Bossier-Shreveport (18, 2)


40 Best On Ice Promotions
1 - Oklahoma City Blazers (23, 3)
2 - Wichita Thunder (21, 3)
3 - Lubbock Cotton Kings (12, 1)


41 Best Cheerleaders
1 - Eagles Chicks, Colorado (45, 8)
2 - Ice Girls, Corpus Christi (28, 3)
3 - Lady SteelHounds, Youngstown (19, 1)


42 Best Arena Music
1 - Laredo Entertainment Center, Laredo (25, 3)
2 - DeSoto Civic Center, Memphis (16, 2)
3 - City Bank Coliseum, Lubbock (14, 2)


43 Best Arena Concessions
1 - Ector County Coliseum, Odessa (23, 3)
2 - CenturyTel Center, Bossier-Shreveport (18, 3)
3 - Santa Ana Star Center, New Mexico (16, 2)


44 Best City
1 - Austin, TX (45, 6)
2 - Oklahoma City, OK (43, 7)
3 - Loveland, CO (19, 2)


45 Best Host Hotel
1 - Fort Collins Marriott, Colorado (36, 5)
2 - MCM Elegante, Odessa (32, 3)
3 - Embassy Suites, Rio Grande Valley (30, 4)


46 Best Booster Club
1 - Mudbug Boilers, Bossier-Shreveport (39, 7)
2 - Jack-Pack, Odessa (25, 3)
3 - The Storm, Wichita (14, 2)


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Central Hockey League Stories from March 8, 2007


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