The Rapid City Rush, in conjunction with the Central Hockey League (CHL), announced today that Riley Weselowski of the Rapid City Rush has been named the recipient of the 2011-12 Central Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Defenseman award. This is the third major year-end award for the fourth-year pro, who also received All-CHL Team and Man of the Year honors.
“It’s pretty surreal and an honor to just be among the five finalists,” said Weselowski. “I feel that any of the finalists could have won this award as they’re all great players. I obviously share this honor with my remarkable teammates, especially the d-men and goaltenders that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with. I’d like to say thank you to the fans of Rapid City for their continual support that motivates us through a lengthy 66-game schedule. Finally, I’d like to thank my parents for their support throughout the years as well as the entire Rush organization and coaching staff for giving me such great opportunities.”
The honor is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League defenseman who has demonstrated the greatest all-round ability in the position’ and is determined through balloting of CHL head coaches, communications departments and selected media members in each market.
“This has been an incredible week for Riley as a professional hockey player,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras. “To receive three very prestigious awards is an incredible accomplishment. With the injuries we suffered on the back end to both Couch and Smale, Riley was placed in a position where he was logging tons of minutes and playing in all situations. Riley more than excelled both offensively and defensively, setting career highs and matching up against other teams top lines. As an organization, we are very proud of all of Riley's accomplishments.”
Earlier this week, the Pilot Mound, Manitoba native was given the CHL’s Man of the Year award for his strong leadership qualities both on and off the ice and now he earns the honor as the league’s top defenseman. Weselowski appeared on 22 of the 50 ballots beating out Fort Wayne’s Frankie DeAngelis who finished second with 13 votes. Weselowski and DeAngelis were the defensemen voted to the All-CHL team announced this past Monday. Other finalists for the top defenseman award included Evansville’s Matt Gens, Missouri’s David Pszenyczny and Quad City’s Darren McMillan.
“Riley has been a pleasure to work with,” said Rush Assistant Coach Mark DeSantis. “He has elevated his game right from day one when he arrived in Rapid City. He’s worked hard over these last years and his hard work has paid off with all of the recognition he has received this season. The most important characteristic about Riley is that he is a quality person. Riley has been a pleasure to work with and to see his dedication paying off is a nice feeling as a coach.”
Weselowski currently is tied for fifth among defensemen in scoring with 40 points (9-31=40) and his +24 plus/minus rating is second among all active blue liners and tied for second among all players in the league. In his third season with the Rush and fourth professional season overall, the 27-year-old defenseman was selected to the CHL All-Star team in January.
In 150 career games in the CHL, the 6-0, 190-pound defenseman has scored 14 goals with 57 assists and is a combined +65 during the three seasons. This year, Weselowski has scored four more goals and has nine more points than his first two seasons with Rapid City combined.
The CHL Most Outstanding Goaltender (Scott Brower Award) will be given out later today (Friday, March 23) and the CHL Most Valuable Player recipient will be announced on Monday, March 26.
CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman (previous winners, since 2001)
2011-12 – Riley Weselowski (Rapid City)
2010-11 – Andrew Martens (Wichita)
2009-10 – Aaron Schneekloth (Colorado)
2008-09 – Aaron Schneekloth (Colorado)
2007-08 – Vladimir Hartinger (New Mexico)
2006-07 – Brad Williamson (Colorado)
2005-06 – Serge Dube (Laredo)
2004-05 – Paul Esdale (Wichita)
2003-04 – Bernie John (Indianapolis)
2002-03 – Michel Periard (Laredo)
2001-02 – Daniel Tetrault (Austin)
2012 CHL Awards that have already been announced are:
CHL Athletic Trainer of the Year – Bryan Rogers, Dayton Gems
CHL Gunner Garrett Equipment Manager of the Year – Romeo Vivit, Rapid City Rush
CHL All-Rookie Team – Jared Brown (QDC), Andrew Courtney (MIZ), Mark Guggenberger (TEX), Dylan King (ALN), Jeff Terminesi (TUL) and Mike Ullrich (TUL)
All-CHL Team – Frankie DeAngelis (FTW), Mark Guggenberger (TEX), Shawn Limpright (RPD, Brandon Marino (QDC), Todd Robinson (EVA) and Riley Weselowski (RPD)
CHL Man of the Year – Riley Weselowski, Rapid City Rush
CHL Rookie of the Year – Mark Guggenberger, Texas Brahmas
CHL Coach of the Year – Kevin McClelland, Wichita Thunder
Other Rush News:
Stay informed on Rush happenings through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com.