The United States Hockey League today announced that Blake Coleman of the Indiana Ice has been named both the 2010-11 USHL Player of the Year and the 2010-11 USHL Forward of the Year as determined by a vote of League coaches and general managers.
Coleman claimed the USHL scoring title as he led the League with 92 points (34g, 58a) while playing in all but one of the 60 regular season games for the Ice. It was the most points scored in a USHL season in over a decade – Peter Sejna had 94 points (41g, 53a) during the 1999-2000 season for the Des Moines Buccaneers. The last player to surpass 90 points was Thomas Vanek (46g, 45a) in 2001-02 for the Sioux Falls Stampede.
Coleman had 17 points than the next highest scorer in the League, teammate Daniil Tarasov (37g, 38a). It is the largest margin between first and second in the scoring race since Peter Sejna had 19 more points than Aaron Smith (33g, 42a) in 1999-2000. The 59 assists accumulated by Coleman are the most in a USHL season since another Indiana Ice player, John Kemp, recorded 59 during the 2007-08 season. Coleman also led the USHL with an impressive plus-52 rating, the highest rating on record since the USHL became Tier I in 2002.
The 19-year-old from Plano, Texas recorded 29 multi-point games this season, including twice having five-point games. His five assists on January 2nd vs. Waterloo were a League season high. Coleman had an eight-game point streak (6g, 8a) from November 24th to December 17th and also had two six-game point streaks during the season. He had points in 10 of his final 11 games of the regular season (9g, 14a) and posted a plus-19 rating during that stretch.
"What an extraordinary year for Blake," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "Ninety-two points, and a plus-52 rating in a league with this much strength across all Member Clubs – that's just unheard of. Plano, Texas hasn't historically been hockey country – but it is now. Blake's leadership and hard work on and off the ice were the difference-maker for the Ice year, and no player in our league is a better representative of what the USHL stands for. Congratulations to our USHL Player of the Year."
The second USHL season for Coleman was a breakout year offensively after he collected 28 points (10g, 18a) in 58 games split between the Indiana Ice and Tri-City Storm in 2009-10. He will continue his hockey career next season at Miami University. Coleman was also listed #198 among North American skaters when NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings in advance of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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