CHL 'Best of the Best' Results Released

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.

View Complete CHL Best of the Best Results Here

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.

View Complete CHL Best of the Best Results Here

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