Top 10 Moments: Chase De Leo's ReturnJun 12, 2023
By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com
With the 2022-23 season in the books, SanDiegoGulls.com looks back at some of the biggest moments, from individual highlights to impressive theme nights and more. Today we continue our Top-10 Moments series, spotlighting Gulls captain Chase De Leo and his stellar performance following his return to the lineup.
Gulls veteran Chase De Leo was named the fifth captain in team history on Oct. 14, 2022 and guided the Gulls to a 6-2 win against the Grand Rapids Griffins with a two-goal performance in the team’s season-opening game on the same night.
De Leo unfortunately suffered an injury during the match up and was sidelined for the next 48 games as he recovered. However, the La Mirada native came back new and improved on Feb. 18, 2023, earning an assist against the Ontario Reign during the Gulls’ annual Star Wars Night and beginning one of the most impressive stretches of his American Hockey League career.
The left wing earned at least one point in eight consecutive games from his first game back from injury on Feb. 18, officially recording a nine-game point streak (7-6=13) from his first game of the season to Mar. 4. This run of points tied both a career-best for De Leo 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).
The Gulls captain made a habit of multi-tasking, breaking significant records and racking up several highlight reel moments during his nine-game point streak and in the games to follow.
On Mar. 1, De Leo not only skated in his 161st game in a Gulls sweater to surpass Simon Benoit with the sixth most games played in franchise history, but also registered a season-best 2-1=3 points. In addition, he scored his 52nd goal as a Gull against Tucson on Mar. 3 to edge past Kalle Kossila for third among all-time team leaders, adding an assist (1-1=2) to the scoresheet as well for back-to-back multi-point efforts.
De Leo made his mark on San Diego’s special teams record section, tallying a shorthanded goal on Apr. 2 to rank second among all-time Gulls AHL leaders with six shorthanded goals and 6-4=10 shorthanded points.
Near the season’s conclusion, De Leo achieved a major milestone by earning the 300th point of his AHL career on Apr. 5. Moreover, he closed out 2022-23 with 55-83=138 points as a Gull, ranking fourth in points and assists in all-time team AHL history.
Despite his injury, De Leo didn’t waiver in his commitment to the San Diego Community and was rewarded for his dedication when the Gulls named their captain the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award on May. 2.