Big Rapids, Mich. - Former Ferris State University men's ice hockey standout Chris Kunitz led the Bulldogs to their first-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season title and initial NCAA Tournament berth 10 years ago.
For his efforts as a collegiate, today the current Pittsburgh Penguins forward was tabbed to the CCHA All-Decade Team as one of the league's top six standouts over the past 13 years.
As part of the league's continuing effort to 'Celebrate The Legacy' in its' 42nd and final season, the CCHA released the All-Decade Team for 2000-13 to honor the league's top performers from its final decade of competition.
The illustrious group of 12 players, selected by a committee of coaches, administrators and media, joins the league's All-Decade teams from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s that were previously selected back in 2001.
The All-Decade First Team included Kunitz along with Michigan's TJ Hensick and Kevin Porter in addition to Andy Greene of Miami (Ohio) along with Michigan State's John Michael-Lyles and goaltender Ryan Miller. Kunitz had more goals (99) than any other player named to the all-decade first or second team.
All 12 players selected to the CCHA 2000-13 All-Decade Team were All-Americans (six multiple All-Americans) and graduated to professional careers. Eleven have or are playing in the National Hockey League (NHL), Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller blossomed into an NHL All-Star and U.S. Olympian, while FSU's Kunitz has captured the Stanley Cup with both Anaheim and Pittsburgh.
The CCHA 2000-13 All-Decade Team was chosen from a pool of Hobey Baker Award winners and All-Americans that played at least three years of college hockey. The selections were made by a committee of coaches, administrators and media that have been involved with the league for the better part of the last three decades.
Miller won the 2002 Hobey Baker Award and was a two-time CCHA Player of the Year and two-time Goaltender of the Year. Other Hobey Baker Award winners on the All-Decade Team include Michigan forward Kevin Porter (2008) and Miami forward Andy Miele (2011).
Kunitz has spent the past four-plus seasons with Pittsburgh, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup in 2009. Kunitz has appeared in 535 regular-season games in the NHL, totaling 353 points (151G-202A), a plus-97 rating, 45 power-play goals and two shorthanded tallies. He has 48 points (12G-36A) in 84 postseason contests.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Kunitz was acquired from Anaheim on Feb. 26, 2009 with Eric Tangradi in exchange for Ryan Whitney. Kunitz finished that season with 18 points (7G-11A) in 20 regular-season games, then added 14 points (1G-13A) in 24 postseason games as the Penguins won the franchise's third Stanley Cup.
Prior to joining the Penguins, Kunitz played parts of five seasons with Anaheim, where he twice surpassed the 20-goal and 50-point plateau. His best season with the Ducks came in 2006-07 when he established career highs offensively in goals (25), assists (35) and points (60), as Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.
Overall, Kunitz has appeared in 535 career games with Pittsburgh, Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers since signing with Anaheim as an undrafted free agent.
As a collegian at Ferris State, Kunitz excelled during his 2002-03 senior season by garnering American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America First-Team honors and was among the final three 2003 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player. A two-time (2001-02 and 2002-03) CCHA First-Team pick, Kunitz became the first Bulldog skater to earn CCHA Player of the Year honors after leading the league in points, goals, assists, and plus/minus for the 2002-03 campaign.
Kunitz concluded his stellar career ranking tied for sixth in career points (175), second in goals (99) and 18th in assists (76) in 152 contests. He played an integral role in leading the 2002-03 Bulldogs to a school-best 31-10-1 overall record, the school's first-ever CCHA Regular-Season Championship title and the program's first-ever NCAA Division I Championship Tournament appearance. Kunitz was also recognized as the male student-athlete recipient of the 2002-03 Bulldog of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State student-athlete.
Visit this link for Chris Kunitz' Official NHL Statistics:
Chris Kunitz Statistical Information
The CCHA All-Decade Team (2000-2013) is below in alphabetical order by position:
CCHA 2000-13 All-Decade First Team
|Chris Kunitz||F||Ferris State||152||99||76||175|
|John-Michael Lyles||D||Michigan State||162||44||94||138|
|Ryan Miller||G||Michigan State||73-18-12||1.54||.941|
|Scott Parse||F||Nebraska Omaha||159||79||118||197|
|Brad Fast||D||Michigan State||164||30||84||114|
|Greg Zanon||D||Nebraska Omaha||154||30||77||107|