The United States Hockey League announced today the recipients of the USHL Player of the Year, USHL Forward of the Year, USHL Defenseman of the Year, USHL Goaltender of the Year and USHL Rookie of the Year awards for the 2016-17 season. Winners are determined by a vote of League general managers. The Madison Capitols abstained from nominations and final voting this season.
USHL Player of the Year: Matiss Kivlenieks, Sioux City Musketeers (full release)
USHL Forward of the Year: Zach Solow, Dubuque Fighting Saints (full release)
USHL Defenseman of the Year: Connor Mackey, Green Bay Gamblers (full release)
USHL Goaltender of the Year: Matiss Kivlenieks, Sioux City Musketeers (full release)
USHL Rookie of the Year: Andrei Svechnikov, Muskegon Lumberjacks (full release)
Kivlenieks is the first goaltender to be named both USHL Player of the Year and USHL Goaltender of the Year since Omaha’s Jeff Lerg won the award following the 2004-05 season. He joins former Musketeers Phil DeSimone (2006-07), Tim Ferguson (1985-86) and Scott Shoffstall (1984-85) as recipients of the USHL Player of the Year Award, and is the first Sioux City Musketeers player to win Goaltender of the Year since it was first awarded following the 1983-84 season. Kivlenieks led the USHL in wins, save percentage and goals against average, and was tied for the most shutouts this season.
Solow is the first Fighting Saints player to win USHL Forward of the Year since the team returned to the USHL prior to the 2010-11 season. The last player from Dubuque to be named USHL Forward of the Year was Chris Ferraro following the 1990-91 season. Solow led the USHL in scoring with 69 points in 56 games, and recorded a league-best 20-game point streak this season.
Mackey joins former Green Bay Gamblers Andy Welinski (2011-12), David Makowski (2009-10), Jeff Finger (1999-00) and Tom Preissing (1998-99) as recipients of the USHL Defenseman of the Year award. Mackey played in all 60 games for the Gamblers during the 2016-17 season, and led all defenseman in scoring with 47 points. Mackey was the only defenseman to finish in the top-20 in USHL scoring.
Svechnikov is the first Lumberjacks player to win USHL Rookie of the Year since the member club joined the USHL prior to the 2010-11 season. Svechnikov led all rookies with 29 goals and 58 points, and ranked second with 29 assists. The Lumberjacks forward’s seven game-winning goals and +29 rating were both ranked second in the USHL among all players. Svechnikov is the first player to win USHL Rookie of the Year while starting the season as a 16-year-old since Kieffer Bellows (Sioux Falls Stampede) in 2015.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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