Joe Burton (Class of 2012)
Joe Burton, a native of Garden City, Michigan, played 11 season in the CHL, all with the Oklahoma City Blazers, from 1992-2003. An all-star for six straight seasons (1998-2003), Burton is the all-time leading scorer in CHL history recording 985 points and has scored more goals (565) than any other player in the history of the league. The league’s annual scoring championship shares his name as the ‘Joe Burton Award’. A veteran of 708 CHL games (third most in league history), Burton helped guide the Blazers to the 2001 Ray Miron Cup with 110 points (51-59=110) during the regular season and 11 more (5-6=11) in 13 post-season games. Burton twice was recognized as the CHL’s Most Valuable Player (1998 and 2001).
Doug Lawrence (Class of 2013)
Lawrence is one of the most decorated forwards in the history of the league and is one of the most recognizable players by CHL fans during the decade of the 90’s and beyond. The Richmond, British Columbia native would play all but 113 of his 541 career CHL games with the Tulsa Oilers. His 875 career points rank him fourth on the league’s all-time points list and his 684 assists and 2,109 penalty minutes are the most in each category in the history of the CHL. The 3-time all-star (1998, 1999 and 2000) played not only for the Oilers but for the Memphis RiverKings (1992-93), Oklahoma City Blazers (1995-96) and Shreveport Mudbugs (1998-99). Affectionately known as “Dougie”, Lawrence still holds the CHL’s single-season assist record with 100 helpers during the 1996-97 campaign with the Oilers. Lawrence was a part of three championship teams starting with the 1993 Oilers and also including the 1996 Blazers and helped the 1999 Mudbugs (through the regular season).
Hardy Sauter (Class of 2013)
Hardy Sauter, the nephew of Doug Sauter, is arguably the best defenseman to ever play in the CHL. The Maryfield, Saskatchewan native has appeared in more all-star games than any other player (8) missing only once in his nine-year career. His lone omission from the team was his first year in OKC in 1996-97 where he became the first CHL defenseman to accumulate 100 points (101 total). He followed that up with two more 100-point campaigns (109 in 1997-98 and 100 in 1998-99) where he was named the CHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman after each. He is eighth on the league’s all-time point list with 669 (most among any defensemen) and fifth all-time with 527 assists. During the 1996-97 season, Sauter finished with a +65 plus/minus rating, the highest of any player in a single CHL season. A member of the Oklahoma City 2001 CHL Championship team, Sauter played all 590 of his CHL games with the Blazers.
No Coach Has Been Inducted
N. Thomas Berry (Class of 2013)
Tom Berry is currently the Commissioner Emeritus of the Central Hockey League and for a half century has had a dramatic impact in the hockey world. In 2010, one of the two CHL conferences was named after him, the Berry Conference, and today the lone CHL conference carries his name. Berry has also been honored as the namesake for one of the top individual awards in the league, the N. Thomas Berry Commitment Cup (presented each January). During his time in hockey, Berry has served as in many capacities from being an on-ice official to owning a franchise and is respected in all hockey circles. Prior to the merger between the CHL and the WPHL, Berry was the Commissioner of the CHL and post-merger was named the Commissioner Emeritus, the position he still holds today.
Rick Kozuback (Class of 2012)
Rick Kozuback, a native of Penticton, British Columbia, was the original President and one of the founders of the Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) in 1996. Kozuback has been in the hockey industry for more than three decades playing Canadian Junior Hockey and then moving on to coach and manage various teams including the Head Coach and General Manager of the Tri-Cities Americans of the Western Hockey League for two seasons and the Associate Coach of the Phoenix Roadrunners of the International Hockey League and farm team to the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings during the 1993-94 season. From 1982-86, Kozuback was Owner, General Manager and Head Coach of the Penticton Knights Junior A Hockey team guiding them to the Canadian Championship in 1985-86. In May of 2001, Kozuback served as a key player in the joining of the WPHL and the CHL into one league operating as the Central Hockey League. Each year, the Rick Kozuback Award is given to a CHL owner, front office member, coach or player for showing qualities of perseverance, endurance and commitment towards the league and the sport.
Brad Lund (Class of 2013)
Brad Lund was the architect of one of the most successful hockey franchises in minor professional history, the Oklahoma City Blazers. He served as the team’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1992-2008. Four times, Lund was honored as the CHL Executive of the Year and three times the Blazers were named the ‘Franchise of the Year’. For eight years, Lund served on the league’s Board of Directors and Franchise Advisory Committee (2001-2008) and was one of the key players in the 2001 merger between the Central Hockey League and the Western Professional Hockey League. As a franchise under Lund, the Blazers led the CHL in average attendance for 16 consecutive seasons and on five occasions ranked number one in all of minor pro hockey. During both the 1993-94 and 1994-95 campaigns, the Blazers averaged more than 10,000 fans per game. As the leader of the Blazers, Lund and his staff twice hosted CHL All-Star Games (1999 and 2003) and four times hosted NHL Preseason Games. Lund and the Blazers welcomed the largest crowd in league history on March 25, 2006 when 17,826 packed the Ford Center. Four of the top five crowds in CHL history have the Blazers name on them. After his time with the Blazers, Lund also was instrumental in setting up the business structure of the Missouri Mavericks who were named the CHL Franchise of the Year in 2011 and 2012, as well as the expansion Denver Cutthroats.
Doug Sauter (Class of 2013)
Doug Sauter enters the Central Hockey League Hall of Fame as the first coach inducted. The league’s all-time leader in wins (544) and games coached (918), the Fairlight, Saskatchewan native posted an all-time CHL record of 544-291-83 (.638 win percentage) in 14 seasons with the Oklahoma City Blazers. Four times, Sauter won the CHL’s regular season title (1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99 and 2000-01) and twice he won the CHL Championship (1996 & 2001). The legendary coach, known by many for his iconic moustache, made the post-season in 11 of his 14 seasons and was named the CHL Coach of the Year in 1996. Sauter led the Blazers to an unreal run between 1995 and 2001 posting a 279-106-25 record, good for a .711 win percentage. The club averaged close to 47 wins a season over that six-year span.
Brad Treliving (Class of 2012)
Brad Treliving, a native of Penticton, British Columbia, was one of the founders of the WPHL in 1996 and served as Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations for five years. He also was key in the combining of the CHL and WPHL in 2001 which began his seven-year tenure as the President of the CHL. During six of his season as the league’s President, the CHL led all North American ‘AA’ professional hockey leagues in attendance and each year, the league’s top executive is given the Brad Treliving Executive of the Year Award. Treliving left the CHL to become the Assistant General Manager of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, a post he still holds today. Prior to his front office career, Treliving played professional hockey for five seasons including stints with Indianapolis in the IHL and both New Haven and Prince Edward Island in the American Hockey League.