BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — The KX Sports team — along with their committee of former coaches, athletic directors, and leaders from our community — have picked four of the best hockey players in western North Dakota to be nominated for Hockey Athlete of the Year at the KX Sports Awards. Here are the nominees:

Jillian Ackerman (Minot): Ackerman was already a seasoned hockey player going into the 2022-23 season. A standout goalie, Ackerman owns the Minot High record of most shutouts in a career (15 as of May 11 and still counting). With a save rate in the 90 percent range and a save record of over 570 during the 2021-22 season, it’s no surprise she earned 2023 NDHSCA Girls Hockey All-State Team honors. Ackerman also plays on the girls softball team.

Ella Gabel (Legacy/Bismarck): A member of the USHS Bismarck Blizzard hockey team since 2019, she is a member of the Legacy/Bismarck team that emerged when the Blizzard split into two separate teams in girls hockey. A senior, Gabel put up good numbers as a defender during the 2022-23 season: 16 goals and assists in 24 games. She was also named to the 2023 NDHSCA Girls Hockey All-State Team.

Brenna Curl (Century): Brenna Curl has made quite a name for herself as a forward on the Century girls hockey team. As the younger sister of nationally known women’s hockey player Britta Curl, Brenna is carving her own niche in the high school hockey world. She was named to the 2023 NDHSCA Girls Hockey All-State Team, and helped lead Bismarck Century to the state consolation championship this season.

Max Vig (Century): Vig had a great season with the Bismarck Century boys hockey team, earning 16 goals and 31 assists for 47 points in 2022-23, the fourth-highest total in the state. One write-up on Vig notes, “the defenseman has been known for his ability to turn defense into offense at the flip of a switch.” Bismarck won the consolation championship at state in 2023. Vig earned 2023 WDA All-State honors.

Who do you think will win this year’s Hockey Athlete of the Year award? Tune in June 6 to the KX’s Sports Awards to find out!