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Moose win Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award

mtb_200.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced that the Manitoba Moose have won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2008-09 season.

Since 1972, the award has been presented to the team which allows the fewest goals in the regular season.

Manitoba surrendered just 188 goals in 2008-09 and finished the regular season with a record of 50-23-1-6. The Moose captured their second North Division title in the last three years and finished with the best mark in the Western Conference. Manitoba opens their division semifinal Calder Cup Playoff series against Toronto on Wednesday night.

Cory Schneider, who earlier this week won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the outstanding goaltender in the American Hockey League, finished first in the AHL in goals-against average (2.04) and save percentage (.928) while going 28-10-1 with five shutouts in 40 appearances for Manitoba.

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), Wade Dubielewicz (2004), Jason LaBarbera (2005, 2007) and Dany Sabourin (2006).

Currently in its 73rd 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 50 million fans have attended AHL games across North America over the past eight years. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.