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NAHL announces Bauer Hockey Stars of the Week

September 20, 2021

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Bauer Hockey for the week ending September 19, 2021.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2021-22 regular 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.


Watch: Stars of the Week highlights for September 13-19


Central Division Star of the Week: Carson Riddle, Forward, Austin Bruins

Austin Bruins veteran forward Carson Riddle, 20, had a big week as he helped the Bruins to the top record at the NAHL Showcase this past weekend. The 5’9/165 lbs. native of Holly, MI, racked up nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) in four games as the Bruins put together a 3-0-1 record. That included a four-point game in a win over Wichita Falls on Wednesday, a two-point effort in a win over Fairbanks on Thursday, and a three-point game in a win over New Jersey on Friday. His nine points are just one behind the league leaders. “Carson had a great week for us. It was nice to see him get rewarded for his hard work and effort. He is our captain and a true leader both on and off the ice. We expect him to keep this up and earn an NCAA Division I scholarship,” said Bruins head coach Steve Howard.

2nd Star: Cullen DeYoung, G, North Iowa Bulls

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jackson Bisson, F, St. Cloud Norsemen – Ryan Coughlin, F, North Iowa Bulls – Kyle Gaffney, F, Aberdeen Wings – Cade Neilson, F, Aberdeen Wings – Jens Richards, F, Austin Bruins


East Division Star of the Week: Luke Van Why, Defense, Maryland Black Bears

Maryland rookie defenseman Luke Van Why, 18, has made a huge impression in his first month in the NAHL, which included a big performance at the NAHL Showcase. The 5’10/163 lbs. native of Hatfield, PA, put up seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in four games during the event and he is currently tied for the NAHL scoring lead with 10 points. His output included two assists in a win over Corpus Christi on Wednesday and two goals and two assists in a win over Wichita Falls on Thursday. “Luke has quickly shown the ability to think the game and compete at an elite level. His puck moving abilities and his skating has certainly put him on the radar within the league, as well as some NCAA schools. The Showcase was a great event for NAHL players to display their talents, and he did a great job of making an impression. Congrats to Luke for being named East Division Star of the Week. No one will be happier for Luke's accomplishment, than his teammates,” said Black Bears head coach Clint Mylymok.

2nd Star: Brandon Avezov, F, New Jersey Titans

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Jake Black, F, Johnstown Tomahawks – Ryan Bottrill, F, Maryland Black Bears – Aidan Connolly, F, Maine Nordiques – Reese Farrell, F, Maine Nordiques – Jackson Hughes, F, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Adam Johnson, G, Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – Brent Keefer, F, Northeast Generals – Marty Marnauzs, D, Northeast Generals – Holt Oliphant, F, Johnstown Tomahawks


Midwest Division Star of the Week: Connor Smith, Forward, Springfield Jr. Blues

Springfield Jr. Blues rookie forward Connor Smith, 18, had a big week at the NAHL Showcase, helping the Jr. Blues to a 3-1 record. The 5’11/185 lbs. native of Hugo, MN, had six points in four games and recorded at least a point in all four outings. That included multi-point games in wins over Odessa and Bismarck. Smith currently leads the Jr. Blues in scoring with seven points in six games played. “Connor has been a real surprise for us. I knew he had the capability of being an offensive threat and has been one of our best players. He competes hard on pucks and isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice to create. I’m really looking forward to watching him grow throughout the year,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette.

2nd Star: Talon Sigurdson, F, Anchorage Wolverines

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gavin Best, F, Minnesota Magicians – Cole Crusberg-Roseen, D, Minnesota Wilderness – Nolan Cunningham, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Joey Dosan, F, Springfield Jr. Blues – Joseph Grainda, F, Chippewa Steel – Mack Keryluk, F, Janesville Jets – Gramm McCormack, F, Kenai River Brown Bears – Matt McQuade, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Zachary Murray, F, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Nick Sajevic, F, Chippewa Steel – Will Svenddahl, D, Minnesota Magicians – David Vieten, F, Kenai River Brown Bears


South Division Star of the Week: Kristaps Skrastins, Forward, Amarillo Wranglers

The NAHL Showcase was a coming out party for Amarillo Wranglers forward Kristaps Skrastins. The 19-year-old from Riga, Latvia, posted nine points at the event, which included eight goals. Skrastins (5’11/180) began the event with four goals in a win over New Jersey. The next day, he added a hat-trick, which included the overtime-winning goal. He then completed the event with another goal in a win over the Northeast Generals. “Kristaps has had an immediate impact on our team since the day he arrived in Amarillo. His positive attitude, spirited play, and timely scoring allowed us to win some closely contested games at the Showcase and it was exciting to see multiple NCAA Division I schools meet him after all 4 games and begin the recruiting process. Kristaps has the ability to be a great NCAA Division I player and will be an outstanding pro as well,” said Wranglers head coach Harry Mahood.

2nd Star: Nicholas Niemo, F, Lone Star Brahmas

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Dilan Bentley, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Nathan Butler, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Emerson Goode, F, Odessa Jackalopes – Jude Kurtas, F, Corpus Christi IceRays – Tony Leahy, F, New Mexico Ice Wolves – Matthew O’Donnell, G, Wichita Falls Warriors – William Proctor, G, Odessa Jackalopes – Artur Turansky, F, Lone Star Brahmas

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