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USHL Players Honored by USA Hockey

Friday May 25, 2012

Ryan McKay, Andy Welinski, and Jack Connolly all were recognized by USA Hockey. (photos by Marshall Art Photography, USHL Images, and UMD Athletics)

Welinski, McKay, and Connolly earn annual awards

USA Hockey revealed their annual awards recipients and among the honorees are two USHL players from the 2011-12 season and one former USHL players.  Andy Welinski of the Green Bay Gamblers was named the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year while teammate Ryan McKay earned Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year.  In addition, USHL alum Jack Connolly was awarded College Player of the Year.

Welinski, who was last week named USHL Defenseman of the Year, put up 37 points (15g, 22a) in 54 regular season games for the Green Bay Gamblers.  He tied for the USHL lead among blueliners with 15 goals and ranked fifth in scoring.  The Duluth, Minnesota native helped Green Bay be both the top offensive and defensive team in the League as they led the USHL averaging 4.17 goals per game and allowed just 2.30 goals per game.

The defenseman also helped Green Bay capture the Anderson Cup as the USHL team with the best regular season record as the Gamblers won a team record 47 games.  He also recently helped the team win the Clark Cup as playoff champions.  Welinski was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round (83rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft following his rookie USHL Season.  On the international stage, he was part of the U.S. Select Team that captured the bronze medal at the World Junior A Challenge in November 2011.  Welinski begins his college hockey career next season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

It is the 16th consecutive season that a USHL player has earned the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year award.

USHL stats - Andy Welinski

McKay posted a stellar 27-5-3 record with a USHL leading 2.18 goals-against-average during the regular season for the Green Bay Gamblers.  His .920 save percentage was second overall in the League.  The Palatine, Illinois native shared honors as the USHL Goaltender of the Year as he was a big reason for the Gamblers being the top defensive team in the League by allowing just 2.30 goals per contest.

The 19-year-old was part of the Gamblers team that won the Anderson Cup after finishing the regular season with a 47-9-4 record (98 points).  He was also a key contributor to Green Bay winning a League record 25 games on the road this season as he posted a 15-0-1 mark on the road this season.  McKay capped his USHL career by playing all 12 postseason games for the Gamblers and winning the Clark Cup.  He posted a 9-3 playoff record with a 2.07 GAA and .922 SV%.  The goaltender is the all-time leader in Gamblers history in career wins (66), GAA (2.02), and SV% (.921).  McKay was also a teammate of Welinski for the U.S. Select Team at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.  He begins his college hockey career at Miami University next season.

It is the fifth consecutive season that a goaltender from the USHL has been named the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year.

USHL stats - Ryan McKay

Connolly scored 60 points (20g, 40a) in 41 games for the University of Minnesota-Duluth this season.  He was second in NCAA Division I hockey scoring and went on to be named the recipient of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey.  He played all 166 games during his four-year career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. 

The Duluth, Minnesota native spent the 2007-08 season in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede.  He earned USHL Rookie of the Year honors after posting 72 points (26g, 46a) in 58 games to lead the USHL in scoring.  Connolly would also earn Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year honors following that season.

It marks the second straight year that a former USHL player has won both the Hobey Baker Award and USA Hockey College Player of the Year as Connolly joins Andy Miele who captured the honors last season.

All three players will be officially presented with their awards on June 6th at the Night of Tribute Awards Dinner.

USHL stats - Jack Connolly

 

 

Highlight video - Andy Welinski

Highlight video - Ryan McKay

 

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12.  With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 13 NHL draftees on its rosters this season, and over 250 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL is emerging as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action online all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com)   

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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