Minnesota State's C.J. Suess Named 2017-18 WCHA Player Of The Year
Mavericks' co-captain chosen from among four finalists as WCHA's top overall player
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Mavericks' co-captain chosen from among four finalists as WCHA's top overall player

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. March 15, 2018 For the first time, the Player of the Year in the Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) hails from Minnesota State, as the league is proud to recognize Mavericks senior forward C.J. Suess with its top honor for the 2017-18 season.

Suess, who earlier this week was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Year, was chosen for the top overall accolade by league head coaches from among the final four candidates: Defenseman of the Year Alec Rauhauser of Bowling Green, Goaltender of the Year Atte Tolvanen of Northern Michigan and Rookie of the Year Jake Jaremko, also of Minnesota State.

"On behalf of the WCHA, we commend Mr. C.J. Suess on his amazing season and applaud him as our 2017-18 WCHA Player of the Year," said WCHA President and Men's League Commissioner Bill Robertson. "Each of our final four candidates had remarkable years, but C.J.'s leadership of a top-10, NCAA tournament-bound team, along with his stellar, league-leading offensive production for our regular season champions, make him truly worthy of this honor. Congratulations, C.J.!"

Suess, a Hobey Baker Memorial Award top-10 finalist, was the first Minnesota State player to capture the WCHA scoring title after tallying 36 points in 28 conference games. The Forest Lake, Minn. native scored a league-high 19 goals, added 19 assists and posted a WCHA-best plus-19 rating. He collected at least one point in an impressive 23 league games, including 10 multi-point efforts. Suess factored in nine game-winning goals for the 22-win, MacNaughton Cup champion Mavericks, scoring four himself (second-most in the WCHA) and assisting on five others. The first-team All-WCHA performer also added 11 points on the power play (4g-7a), was on the ice for a league-best 32 even-strength Minnesota State goals and contributed a WCHA-high 380 faceoff wins.

"First of all, I think it's an outstanding honor to be selected by coaches throughout the league," commented Minnesota State Head Coach Mike Hastings. "Secondly, I think C.J. is a complete player. There isn't a situation that he does not play in over the course of an entire game. During his time with us, he has worked to eliminate holes in his game to develop into a complete player. You can talk about his talents on the ice, but his leadership skills in being a 'we' guy and never a 'me' guy is exhibited daily. Over his entire four-year career, he has contributed daily to making Minnesota State a better place to be."

The top offensive threat on the nation's highest-scoring team, Suess is tied for 12th nationally with a career-high 43 points for the NCAA tournament-bound Mavericks. The Winnipeg Jets prospect has scored 22 goals (tied for 10th in the country), has 21 assists, 509 faceoff wins (second nationally) and a plus-18 rating (tied for 19th) in 39 games. A two-year captain, Suess has helped Minnesota State to a No. 6 ranking in the latest opinion polls, along with a NCAA-best 29 wins. He stands as Minnesota State's active career scoring leader with 127 points on 57 goals and 70 assists, while his points total is tied for fifth on the school's career scoring list during the DI-era.

Suess and Minnesota State will continue their season in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship. The Mavericks will learn their regional destination at 11 a.m. CT this Sunday, March 18, when the NCAA unveils its tournament bracket. The NCAA selection show will air live on ESPNU.


WCHA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER; PLAYER OF THE YEAR

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Year Name, Position, Team
1959‑60 (none selected)
1960-61 Jerry Walker, F, Denver
1961-62 Red Berenson, F, Michigan
1962-63 Lou Nanne, D, Minnesota
1963-64 (none selected)
1964-65 Gerry Kell, F, North Dakota
1965-66 Mel Wakabayashi, F, Michigan
1966-67 Keith 'Huffer' Christiansen, F, Minnesota Duluth
1967-68 Keith Magnuson, D, Denver
1968-69 Murray McLachlan, G, Minnesota
1969-70 Murray McLachlan, G, Minnesota
1970-71 Rob Murray, D, Michigan Tech
1971-72 Doug Palazzari, F, Colorado College
1972-73 Ron Grahame, G, Denver
1973-74 Doug Palazzari, F, Colorado College
1974-75 Mike Polich, F, Minnesota (co)
  Tom Ross, F, Michigan State (co)
1975-76 Mike Zuke, F, Michigan Tech
1976-77 Brian Walsh, F, Notre Dame
1977-78 Mike Eaves, F, Wisconsin
1978-79 Mark Johnson, F, Wisconsin
1979-80 Tim Harrer, F, Minnesota
1980-81 Steve Ulseth, F, Minnesota
1981-82 Phil Sykes, F, North Dakota
1982-83 Bob Mason, G, Minnesota Duluth
1983-84 Tom Kurvers, D, Minnesota Duluth
1984-85 Bill Watson, F, Minnesota Duluth
1985-86 Dallas Gaume, F, Denver
1986-87 Tony Hrkac, F, North Dakota
1987-88 Robb Stauber, G, Minnesota
1988-89 Curtis Joseph, G, Wisconsin
1989-90 Gary Shuchuk, F, Wisconsin
1990-91 Scott Beattie, F, Northern Michigan
1991-92 Duane Derksen, G, Wisconsin

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Year Name, Position, Team
1992-93 Derek Plante, F, Minnesota Duluth
1993-94 Chris Marinucci, F, Minnesota Duluth
1994-95 Brian Bonin, F, Minnesota
1995-96 Brian Bonin, F, Minnesota
1996-97 Mike Crowley, D, Minnesota
1997-98 Curtis Murphy, D, North Dakota
1998-99 Jason Blake, F, North Dakota
1999-00 Steve Reinprecht, F, Wisconsin
2000-01 Jeff Panzer, F, North Dakota
2001-02 Mark Hartigan, F, St. Cloud State
2002-03 Peter Sejna, F, Colorado College
2003-04 Junior Lessard, F, Minnesota Duluth
2004-05 Marty Sertich, F, Colorado College
2005-06 Matt Carle, D, Denver
2006-07 Ryan Duncan, F, North Dakota
2007-08 Richard Bachman, G, Colorado College
2008-09 Jamie McBain, D, Wisconsin
2009-10 Marc Cheverie, G, Denver
2010-11 Matt Frattin, F, North Dakota
2011-12 Jack Connolly, F, Minnesota Duluth
2012-13 Drew LeBlanc, F, St. Cloud State
2013-14 Cody Kunyk, F, Alaska
2014-15 Tanner Kero, F, Michigan Tech
2015-16 Alex Petan, F, Michigan Tech
2016-17 Michael Bitzer, G, Bemidji State
2017-18 C.J. Suess, F, Minnesota State