Green Bay Gamblers blueliner fourth in team history to win the award
Chicago, IL - The United States Hockey League today announced that Andy Welinski of the Green Bay Gamblers has been selected as the 2011-12 USHL Defenseman of the Year as determined by a vote of USHL coaches and general managers.
Welinski totaled 37 points (15g, 22a) in 54 regular season games for the Gamblers, ranking fifth among all USHL defensemen in scoring. His 15 goals tied for first among League blueliners and his plus-35 rating tied for the third best mark in the USHL. The recently turned 19-year-old added 13 points (4g, 9a) on the power play for a Gamblers team that recorded a 23.8% conversion rate on the man-advantage, the second best mark in the League.
The high-scoring defenseman was a key contributor for Green Bay which led the USHL with an average of 4.17 goals per game, but was just a valuable in helping the Gamblers be the top defensive team as they allowed just 2.30 goals per game, the best mark in the League. Welinski's team had a plus-112 goal differential, the highest mark in the USHL Tier I era history (2002-present) and was plus-70 more than the next highest team in the League this season (Lincoln +42).
Welinski also served as one of the team's alternate captains this season and helped the Gamblers capture the Anderson Cup as the USHL team with the best regular season record (47-9-4). The 47 wins by Green Bay set a new team record.
"If you're a fan of hockey at any level, it's just a pleasure watching Andy play the game," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. "He brings out all of the descriptions you use when talking about the game's best defensemen - tough, strong, intelligent, controls his zone, leads the League's best defensive corps, and has a great scoring touch as well. He's been a key to just a great Green Bay Gamblers squad this year. Congratulations to Andy, and to Coach Derek Lalonde and the Green Bay Gamblers organization for the season he's helped them achieve to date."
It was the second USHL season for Welinski who put up 14 points (6g, 8a) in 51 regular season games for the Green Bay Gamblers in 2010-11. Following his rookie USHL season, he was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the third round (83rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.
The Duluth, Minnesota native will continue his hockey career next season playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He becomes the fourth defenseman in the history of the Green Bay Gamblers to earn USHL Defenseman of the Year honors, following David Makowski (2009-10), Jeff Finger (1999-2000), and Tom Preissing (1998-99).
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 13 NHL draftees on its rosters this season, and over 250 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL is emerging as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League's multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action online all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).