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Budaj wraps up Hap Holmes Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Peter Budaj of the Ontario Reign is the recipient of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2015-16 season. Since 1972, the award has been presented to the goaltender(s) with at least 25 games played on the team which allows the fewest goals per game in the regular season. 

The Ontario Reign allowed an average of 2.03 goals per game, the sixth-lowest total in the AHL’s 80-year history, while finishing its regular season on Saturday night with a record of 44-19-4-1. The Reign won the Pacific Division title, the third consecutive first-place finish for the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. 

Budaj, the recipient of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (outstanding goaltender) and a First Team AHL All-Star in 2015-16, started 60 of Ontario’s 68 games and posted a record of 42-14-4, the most wins in a season by an AHL goalie in the last 55 years. The 14th-year pro set a career high for minutes played in a season (3,574) and became just the third AHL goaltender since 1984 to lead the league in wins, goals-against average (1.75), save percentage (.932) and shutouts (9) in the same season. 

The Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, which was first awarded in 1948 to the goaltender with the best goals-against average in the AHL, is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Harry “Hap” Holmes, a prominent figure in early professional hockey and an outstanding goaltender of his time. Previous winners or co-winners of the award include Gil Mayer (1951, ’53, ’54, ’55, ’56), Johnny Bower (1957, ’58), Marcel Paille (1961, ’62), Gerry Cheevers (1965), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Pete Peeters (1979), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Olaf Kolzig (1994), Mike Dunham (1995), Manny Legace (1996), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1998), Martin Biron (1999), Joey MacDonald (2003), Jason LaBarbera (2005, ’07), Cory Schneider (2009), Cedrick Desjardins (2010), Ben Scrivens (2012), Jeff Zatkoff (2013, ’15) and Matt Murray (2015). 

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2015-16 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.