Rapid City’s Riley Weselowski Named CHL Man of the Year
GLENDALE, AZ (March 20, 2012) – The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Riley Weselowski of the Rapid City Rush has been named the 2011-12 Central Hockey League Man of the Year. The award is selected by the CHL front office based on nominations and supporting materials presented from member clubs. The other finalists for the award were Allen’s Jason Deitsch, Arizona’s Tyler Butler, Fort Wayne’s Brent Henley and Dayton’s Greg Labenski.
The CHL Man of the Year award is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League player adjudged to have best exemplified strong leadership qualities on and off the ice, while making significant and noteworthy humanitarian contributions to his community’.
“Riley Weselowski represents the quality of player in the Central Hockey League, and we are very pleased to announce him as the CHL’s Man of the Year,” said Duane Lewis, CHL Commissioner. “Riley has been not only a large part of the community in which he plays, but has lent a hand and initiated many things which have a national presence as well.”
“This is another great accomplishment, not only for Riley, but the Rapid City Rush organization,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras. “The number one thing we look for when we bring hockey players into Rapid City is that they’re quality human beings and high character kids. When we were fortunate enough to get Riley, he came in and made an instant impact, not only on our hockey club, but in the community. He does numerous charity events such as his Habitat for Humanity and Ryan Christian fundraisers as well visiting local schools and hospitals, and all of this on his own accord. He’s the type of individual that doesn’t need any type of outside motivation. Riley is very self-driven and has embedded himself into the outstanding community of Rapid City from day one. Both the Rapid City Rush and the entire CHL are fortunate to have such quality young individuals within the league.”
In his fourth professional season and third with the Rush, Weselowski is recognized by the entire CHL fraternity as a player who has a constant awareness and influence to his community and its charitable efforts. The defenseman has worked with the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity to name just a few.
With the American Cancer Society, Weselowski has led his organization’s assistance through many worthwhile programs such as Bras for a Cause where he, along with his Rush teammates, helped raise more than $7,000.
‘Riley has great character and is always first to give his own time during the season to help support his community,” said Kristen Huitema, works Community Relations with the MidWest Division of the American Cancer Society, Inc. “We are saving lives faster with the support of people like Riley.”
Weselowski is also a steady presence not only on his own blue line for the Rush but in the schools in the greater Rapid City community. The defenseman regularly visits the kids for pizza parties to help aid the Parent-Teacher Association and even this past season allowed a second grade student to shave his head in support of ‘Jump Rope for Heart’ sponsoring the American Heart Association.
“Riley is all about helping kids and supporting the Rapid City Community,” said Gregg McNabb, Principal of Corral Drive Elementary School.
Other areas Weselwoski has gotten involved include running in the Crazy Horse Marathon to raise money for charity, helping to gain awareness and funds in conjunction with the RUSH Foundation to earn enough money to light a section of the bike path from the arena to the an adjacent ice arena. With Weselowski’s help, the ‘Light the Night’ campaign was a huge success and the solar lights will be installed this summer.
On the ice, Weselowski is one of the most respected and talented defensemen in the league. Earlier this week, the Pilot Mound, Manitoba native was named a member of the 2011-12 All-CHL Team and he is one of five finalists for the CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman Award.
CHL Man of the Year (previous winners, since 2001)
2011-12 – Riley Weselowski (Rapid City)
2010-11 – Simon Watson (Missouri)
2009-10 – Justin Quenneville (Corpus Christi)
2008-09 – Austin Sutter (Amarillo)
2007-08 – Stacey Bauman (Oklahoma City)
2006-07 – Riley Nelson (Colorado)
2005-06 – Paul Fioroni (Lubbock)
2004-05 – Paul Fioroni (Lubbock)
2003-04 – Don Parsons (Memphis)
2002-03 – Anthony Donskov (Lubbock)
2001-02 – Scott Hillman (Odessa)
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)