Charismatic Walleye forward Evan Rankin earned the most votes in The Blade's “My Favorite Walleye” poll.
Rankin, the affable veteran player, received 55.7 percent of the 10,417 votes that were cast in the exclusive on-line poll.
Rankin, who has played in parts of five seasons, has etched his name all over the Walleye record books. He has played in 232 games for Toledo's pro hockey team and is the organization's all-time leading goal scorer (109) and overall point producer (211).
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Rankin, a 31-year-old from Portage, Mich., earned 5,798 votes in the fan poll. He was presented with a plaque today at the Huntington Center prior to the Walleye's game against Fort Wayne by Kurt Franck, The Blade's executive editor, and Frank Corsoe, the paper's sports editor.
Sylvania native and forward Alden Hirschfeld received 1,446 votes (13.9 percent) in the poll. A total of 2,188 votes went to write-in candidates, including 1,977 for forward Carter Sandlak. The other top vote-getters were: Shane Berschbach, A.J. Jenks, and Jake Paterson followed closely by brothers Tyson and Tylor Spink.
Votes came in from all across the United States and Canada. Fans weighed in from Florida, California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, North Carolina, and Washington.
Most of the votes came from Ohio and Michigan.
Past winners of the poll were: goalie Jeff Lerg (2016), forward Kyle Rogers (2015), and forward Willie Coetzee (2013). Forward Riley Emmerson won the first poll in 2012.
Rankin has played in 232 games for the Walleye and has 102 assists (third-most in team history). The clutch performer has scored the most game-winning goals in franchise history with 16. Rankin has tallied six game-winners this season.
He has scored more power-play goals (26) than any other player in Walleye history. He also has scored the most first goals (21) in games and is second in overall shots on goal (689).
The forward received a proclamation from Toledo City Council in January. In November, Rankin appeared twice on ESPN's SportsCenter for remarkable individual scoring plays.
Toledo Walleye player Evan Rankin celebrates his third goal against the Atlanta Gladiators during the second period of their hockey game at the Huntington Center November 16. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
A look at the commemorative page given to Evan Rankin, who was voted by fans as My Favorite Walleye for 2017. THE BLADE