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Lead ‘Dog honored with Pieri Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Guy Boucher of the Hamilton Bulldogs has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2009-10 season, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.

In his first season in the professional ranks, Boucher has guided the Bulldogs to a North Division championship and the second-best record in the entire AHL at 51-17-3-7 (112 points). Hamilton has set numerous franchise records, including those for most wins and points, and the Bulldogs sit first in the league in team defense (2.24 goals allowed per game) and third in offense (3.38 goals scored per game). Boucher has also seen 17 Bulldogs players skate with the parent Montreal Canadiens with seven making their NHL debuts – including leading scorers David Desharnais, Brock Trotter and 2010 AHL First Team All-Star and All-Rookie defenseman P.K. Subban.

A 38-year-old native of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Que., Boucher is the second-youngest head coach currently in the AHL. He joined the Montreal organization on June 29, 2009, after spending the better part of the previous 12 years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, including 2006-09 as head coach of Drummondville. Boucher was an assistant coach for the gold-medal-winning Canadian teams at the 2009 World Junior Championships and the 2008 World U-18 Championships. A graduate of McGill Univeristy, Boucher is the fourth head coach in AHL history to win at least 50 games in his first full pro campaign.

The Louis A.R. Pieri Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a 2009 inductee into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007), Scott Gordon (2008) and Scott Arniel (2009).

Currently in its 74th season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 58 million fans have attended AHL games across North America over the past nine years. The 2009-10 season ends on Sunday, and 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.