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By Jack Milewski, 04/24/20, 12:00PM CDT


Gaber becomes first Saints to win player of the year

Riese Gaber became the first Dubuque Fighting Saints player to win USHL Player of the Year honors and just the third to win USHL Forward of the Year after a historic 2019-20 season. Gaber was honored yesterday with an All-USHL First Team bid and now picks up the league’s most prestigious honor with Player of the Year.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Gaber. “This is something where I know my hard work has paid off and I could not be happier. I wouldn’t be where I am without all my past teammates and coaches. I want to especially thank Kalle Larsson and Oliver David for my success in Dubuque. I could not be prouder to be a Saint for Life.”

Gaber’s 55 points this season put him in the top-10 in the USHL, along with two other Fighting Saints. His 34 goals were best in the USHL by a wide margin. Gaber electrified the Dubuque crowd regularly with his patented dangles, speed and physicality.

“Since the day Riese Gaber showed up to try out (yes, he tried out) for our hockey team, he's exemplified everything it means to be a Fighting Saint,” said Saints GM Kalle Larsson. “On the ice and off the ice, he's one of the most selfless and caring individuals we have had in our organization, and him being honored with those two awards makes all of us so proud. He's the hardest working player every single day, and his hard work will continue to pay off as he moves onto college and beyond.”

Gaber’s hard work showed this season on the stat sheet and it now shows in the record books as well. He became the sixth Fighting Saint to hit 100 points in his career. He also recorded his 100th USHL game and 200th junior hockey game during the season. Most notably, he became the Saints Tier-1 leader in career goals, surpassing the mark of 55 held by Seamus Malone.

“Riese’s presence alone has added value to our organization,” said head coach Oliver David. “His contribution to our success truly is immeasurable. He is the example- a real peer role model for his teammates- of what it means to play with passion and pride. I love him and I love how he plays the game. He is our signature Saint and he’ll be missed.”

Gaber finishes his Dubuque career in rarified air amongst many of the statistical categories and now is listed as the only Saint to win Player of the Year honors. The award has been given every year in the USHL since the 1983-84 season.