NAHL announces Bauer Hockey Stars of the Week
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending September 18, 2022. The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2022-23 season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.
Central Division Star of the Week: Erik Chaffe, Goaltender, North Iowa Bulls
North Iowa Bulls goalie Erik Chaffe, 19, made a big statement in his first two career NAHL games. The 6’1/170 lbs. native of Marion, IA, posted two shutouts at the NAHL Showcase, as the Bulls went 3-1, allowing just three goals in the four games. In his first career NAHL start, Chaffe, who played for the NA3HL’s Mason City Toros last season, stopped all 19 shots that came his way in a 5-0 win over Wisconsin. Two days later, he stopped all 23 shots in a 4-0 win over Odessa. In total, Chaffe stopped all 42 shots that came his way. “Erik had an impressive debut to his NAHL season, and we appreciate the effort giving us back-to-back shutouts. He's calm and collected between the pipes which creates a calmness around him. As a top goalie in the NA3HL last year for the Toros we are excited to see the ladder of development working,” said Bulls head coach Todd Sanden.
2nd Star: Ethan Robertson, G, Austin Bruins
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jimmy Goffredo, D, Austin Bruins - Colby Joseph, F, Minot Minotauros – Will Lagemann, G, St. Cloud Norsemen – Justin Mexico, F, North Iowa Bulls – Nick O’Hanisain, D, Minot Minotauros – Kade Peterson, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – Geno Pichora, G, Aberdeen Wings
East Division Star of the Week: Gabriel Westling, Forward, Maryland Black Bears
The Maryland Black Bears put together a 3-1 record at the NAHL Showcase and were led by 18-year-old forward Gabriel Westling. The 6’4/195 lbs. native of Mora, Sweden, put up six points in the four games at the Showcase. After going scoreless in the opener, he posted the game-winning goal and had an assist in a 5-1 win over El Paso. The next day, he had another game-winning goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over Aberdeen. On the final day, he had an assist in a 5-2 win over New Mexico. For the season, Westling has seven points in six games played. “Gabriel decided to come to the USA, and specifically Maryland to gain some exposure. His goal is to play NCAA hockey, and based on his performance at the Showcase, is well on his way. He is a very talented player with a bright future in this sport,” said Black Bears head coach Clint Mylymok.
2nd Star: Thomas Heaney, G, Maine Nordiques
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jakub Krbecek, G, Philadelphia Rebels – Connor McDonough, G, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Patrick Schmeidlin, F, Maine Nordiques – Luka Sukovic, F, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Gunnar VanDamme, D, Maryland Black Bears
Midwest Division Star of the Week: Joe Kelly, Forward, Chippewa Steel
Chippewa Steel forward Joe Kelly, 19, got he and his team off to a good start at the NAHL Showcase. The 5’10/170 lbs. native of Eau Claire, WI, put up five points as the Steel posted a 3-1 record at the event. In the first game, Kelly made a splash with two goals and an assist in a 6-1 win over Johnstown. The next day, he had another goal in a 3-0 win over Corpus Christi. On Friday, Kelly scored again in a 5-1 win over the Northeast Generals. “Joe had an outstanding showcase. He showed his ability to not only produce offensively, but also his commitment to playing the right way. Joe had an excellent summer and it’s terrific to see him get off to a great start. We are super excited to see him continue to develop and play well this season,” said Steel head coach Casey Mignone.
2nd Star: Kevin Marx Noren, F, Minnesota Wilderness
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Connor Brown, D, Janesville Jets – Jake Cameron, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Ryan Friedman, F, Janesville Jets – Tyler Herzberg, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Bryant Marks, G, Kenai River Brown Bears – Kade Nielsen, F, Chippewa Steel – Isak Posch, G, Minnesota Wilderness – Hayden Walters, F, Kenai River Brown Bears
South Division Star of the Week: Hunter Jones, Forward, Oklahoma Warriors
After the NAHL Showcase, Oklahoma Warriors forward Hunter Jones, leads the NAHL in scoring with 10 points in four games. The 5’10/188 lbs. native of Andover, MN, put up four goals and six assists in Blaine as the Warriors went 4-0. In Game 1, Jones was a force with two goals, including the game-winner and three assists in a 7-3 win over Minot. The next day, he had two assists in a 7-2 win over Bismarck. On Friday, he had two more goals in a 4-1 win over Maine, and then on Saturday, he had an assist in a 3-1 win over Northeast. “Hunter is one of the leaders of our group and we knew it was important to get a good start to the season. He led by example with his relentless puck pursuit and compete level. His line helped lead our offense and he showed his poise and ability to make plays on a big stage. We couldn't be happier for Hunter with the start he had knowing that he has been on the verge of being a big-time impact player. His work ethic and commitment to team success was certainly displayed these past 4 games and we're excited about what the future holds for Hunter,” said Warriors head coach Garrett Roth.
2nd Star: Rihards Simanovics, D, Amarillo Wranglers
Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Tommy Aitken, G, Shreveport Mudbugs – Carter Clafton, G, Amarillo Wranglers – Jaden Goldie, F, Shreveport Mudbugs – Will Howard, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – William Lawson-Body, F, Oklahoma Warriors – Alfred Lindberg, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves