Central Hockey League Hall of Fame Announces Inaugural Class
GLENDALE, AZ (January 10, 2012) – The Central Hockey League announced today Joe Burton, Rick Kozuback and Brad Treliving have been elected as the ‘Class of 2012’ and the first class to be inducted into the newly formed Central Hockey League Hall of Fame. The announcement was made at the 2012 CHL All-Star Banquet in Northern Arizona, the site of the 2012 CHL All-Star Game.
Burton enters the Hall in the ‘Player’ Category and both Kozuback and Treliving enter in the ‘Builder’ Category.
“It is with great honor that we open the doors of the CHL Hall of Fame and invite these three distinguished gentlemen inside,” said Lewis. “No player has done more in the league than Joe Burton and Rick Kozuback and Brad Treliving have been key contributors not only to the CHL but to the sport of hockey. The election as the inaugural class of the CHL Hall of Fame is well deserved for these three individuals.”
The three inductees were determined through a process conducted by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee chaired by N. Thomas Berry, CHL Commissioner Emeritus, and ultimately required unanimous selection by committee members. The CHL Hall of Fame will induct no more than five people each year with a maximum of three players with the categories being ‘Player’, ‘Official’ and ‘Builder’.
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).
“When I heard about this honor, I was honestly speechless,” said Burton. “As a youngster, I only dreamed about becoming a hockey player and then as a teenager you hope that you get the opportunity to keep playing at a higher level. But as a person with the chance to play professional hockey, the last thing on your ‘to do’ list is to a make a hall of fame. The CHL and Oklahoma City became my second family and I am truly grateful to be honored in this way.”
Rick Kozuback 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.
“I am honored and humbled to be part of the inaugural class of inductees into the CHL Hall of Fame,” said Kozuback. “Being involved in the inception of the WPHL in 1995 and the Joint Operating Agreement with the CHL in 2001 has given me many wonderful memories, tremendous friendships and numerous challenges. I am indebted to many people who have made this opportunity possible and without whom, the CHL as we know it would not be in existence. I am thankful for the faith that Jim Treliving and George Melville showed in 1995 by choosing to believe in our WPHL model and for Brad Treliving who worked in partnership with me over so many of our growth years. Thank you for recognizing me in the 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.
"It is a great honor to be included in the inaugural class of the CHL Hall of Fame,” said Treliving. “I feel very fortunate to have been a part of so many wonderful years working with and meeting so many wonderful people. The experiences, friendships and memories I take with me from my time in the CHL remain with me today and I am very grateful for this honor.”
About the CHL
The CHL is currently playing its 20th season with 14 member teams across nine states. The CHL saw close to 2.5 million fans attend games during the 2010-11 season and has regularly led all ‘AA’ hockey leagues in average attendance over the past decade. Last season saw the league celebrate a record 97 sellouts during the regular season and playoffs. For more information about the CHL visit the league’s website at www.centralhockeyleague.com.