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Thunder Rank Near Top of Annual "Best of the Best" Poll

March 15, 2013 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Wichita Thunder News Release

Wichita, KS (March 15th) - The Central Hockey League's annual "Best of the Best" Poll was released Friday morning and Wichita earned first place honors in several categories including Best Arena, Best Coach, Best Stickhandler, Hardest Shot, Best Offensive Defenseman and Defensive Defenseman, Best Rookie, and Most Annoying Fans.

The poll consists of 50 categories that cover all aspects of the league including on-ice performance, in-game entertainment as well as top venues, concessions, websites, etc. and was voted on by CHL players, coaches and operational staff from all 10 CHL teams (each team submitted one ballot). Each team provided three top choices for each category, with first place votes counting as five points, second place votes counting as three points and third place votes counting as one point.

For the second-straight year, Head Coach Kevin McClelland earned top coach honors, beating out Fort Worth's Dan Wildfong and Rapid City's Joe Ferras. McClelland became the seventh coach in CHL history to win 300 games this past Sunday.

Several Thunder players claimed the top spot in player categories. Neil Trimm took home top honors as the league's Best Stickhandler. Trimm needs 10 points to set a new career high and sits in eighth place in the league in scoring with 70 points (33g, 37a). Kevin Young was named the Hardest Shooter and Best Offensive Defenseman, ahead of teammate Andrew Martens. Nathan Lutz claimed the top spot for the league's Best Defensive Defenseman. Greger Hanson was named as the Top Rookie in the league. Chad Painchaud finished third for Most Underrated Player. RG Flath took second in both Best Defensive Forward and Best Player on Face-Offs.

For the fourth-straight season, INTRUST Bank Arena was named Best Arena and second for toughest building to win in. It also was named for Best Locker Rooms after taking third last year. The facility is a modern, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, perfect for concerts and conventions alike. The arena features 22 suites, 40 loge boxes, and 300 premium seats with a total 15,000-seat capacity ( The arena has given Wichita a clear home ice advantage this season, where the Thunder is 24-5-2 at home. The Thunder has played at INTRUST Bank Arena since January 23rd, 2010.

In other categories, Wichita re-claimed the top spot for Most Annoying Fans while being named number one for Best Press Box, Best Arena Music and Best Arena Concessions. The Thunder took second in Best On-Ice Promotions, Best Cheerleaders/Dance Team and Best Booster Club. Wichita took third in the Best Fans Category.

Overall, Wichita finished third behind Missouri and Allen. For a complete listing of the poll, go to

Jeffrey Lutz of the Wichita Eagle covered the results of this year's "Best of the Best" Poll and his feature story is available by clicking .

Wichita faces the Arizona Sundogs tonight at 9:05 p.m. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night before the Thunder finish off its four-game road trip in Allen, TX the following Tuesday. The Thunder will not return to home-ice until March 22nd against the Allen Americans. For tickets, call 755-SEAT, visit the INTRUST Bank Arena box office or online at

Wichita Thunder playoff packages are on sale now. There are many ways to get involved, so be a part of the Blue Revolution and the Thunder's quest for a CHL Title. Contact the Wichita Thunder Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at (316) 264-4625 or visit the fan relations table behind section 120 at any Wichita Thunder home game for more information. Join the Blue Revolution today!

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