CHRIS STEWART WINS CHL RICK KOZUBACK AWARD
The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Chris Stewart of the Colorado Eagles has been named the recipient of the 2007-08 Central Hockey League Rick Kozuback award. Stewart serves as the Eagles Vice President and Head Coach. The Rick Kozuback award, honoring the original President of the Western Professional Hockey League and current President/CEO of Global Entertainment Corporation (the CHL’s parent company), is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League owner, front office staff member, coach or player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, determination and commitment to the game, sport and business of hockey.’
Stewart has been with the Eagles since prior to the team’s first season in 2003-04 and has led the Eagles to four consecutive Northwest Division championships. They are currently one point away from once again winning the division. As a head coach, Stewart’s 375 CHL wins are second only to Oklahoma City’s Doug Sauter on the league’s all-time win’s list and he has led the Eagles to two Ray Miron President’s Cup championships and two Governors’ Cup championships (CHL regular season titles). Stewart was also instrumental in the procuring of the 2009 CHL All-Star Game to be held at the Budweiser Events Center next January.
Off-the-ice, Stewart has been a leading member of the Northern Colorado community since the first day he moved to Windsor, Colorado. He was instrumental in the formation of the Colorado Eagles Foundation (a component fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado) which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the betterment of the region. This past fall, Stewart and the Eagles celebrated with the opening of Inspiration Playground at Spring Canyon Community Park which is a universally-accessible play area for all children of all abilities and ages that was funded almost solely by the Eagles pledge to raise $250,000 for the project. The franchise has vowed to build similar playgrounds across Northern Colorado and has recently named Windsor’s Boardwalk Park as the next location for a “boundless playground”.
This past off-season, Stewart faced another challenge with major experimental back surgery having a dual disc replacement procedure requiring FDA approval due to its severity. Stewart missed the first two months of the season not returning to the bench until December 21st. The Eagles responded to the coach’s return going 26-12-2 and erasing a 10-point deficit in the Northwest Division to their now four point lead.
The native of Red Deer, Alberta coached junior hockey for nearly a decade including three seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Prince Albert Raiders where he coached current and former NHL players Chris Phillips, Curtis Brown, Shane Willis and Steve Kelly among many others. After a junior career where he was named Junior ‘A’ level Coach of the Year four times, he moved to the professional ranks in the CHL coaching the Huntsville Channel Cats where he led the team to the 1999 CHL Championship in his first season with the team.
Stewart has also been responsible for the advancement of junior hockey in Northern Colorado with the partnership between the Eagles and Northern Colorado Youth Hockey (NCYH). The partnership included the purchase of Providence Ice Centre in Windsor, Colorado and continual support from the Eagles towards NCYH’s development of the game of hockey.
The CHL will announce one more award today (Thursday, March 20th) with the CHL Man of the Year and will announced two on Friday (Outstanding Defenseman award and Most Outstanding Goaltender award) and will conclude the unveiling of the year-end awards on Monday, March 24th by identifying the CHL Most Valuable Player recipient.