The San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League recently announced that Chase De Leo has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the San Diego community during the 2022-23 season.
De Leo, 27, volunteered and participated in a plethora of charitable endeavors this season, including the team’s Rady Children’s Rink visit – an event raising funds for the local Rady Children’s Hospital to help improve the health of young patients. San Diego’s captain also volunteered his time to participate in grassroots efforts to promote health, wellness and the sport of hockey in the San Diego community, joining the Jr. Gulls 10-and-under and 12-and-under teams for a practice at THE RINKS – POWAY Ice.
These endeavors are a small portion of the time that De Leo sets aside outside of hockey to make an impact in the community and give back.
In addition to his off-ice contributions, De Leo became the first Southern California captain in the team’s American Hockey League history on Oct. 14. He overcame a significant injury following the first game of the season, returning to San Diego’s lineup on Feb. 14 following a 48-game absence.
The La Mirada native posted 9-14=23 points this season. De Leo also recorded a nine-game point streak (7-6=13) from Feb. 18–Mar. 4, tying both a career-best and the team record for the second-longest point streak in the Gulls’ AHL history (four times, last: De Leo, Mar. 13.–Apr. 10, 2019).
De Leo scored his 52nd goal in a Gulls sweater to surpass Kalle Kossila for third among all-time team leaders against Tucson on Mar. 3. He also registered back-to-back multi-point efforts with 1-1=2 points on Mar. 3 and a season-best 2-1=3 points on Mar. 1 against Henderson. In addition, San Diego’s fifth captain skated in his 161st game in a Gulls sweater on Mar. 1, surpassing Simon Benoit with the sixth most games played in franchise history. His 54-84=138 points as a Gull also ranks him fourth in points and assists in all-time team AHL history.
De Leo was also one of 32 finalists for the AHL’s 2022-23 Yanick Dupré Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award was Jimmy Oligny, announced by the league on Thursday, May 5.