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Moose’s Schneider earns Baz Bastien Memorial Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Cory Schneider of the Manitoba Moose has been named the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2008-09 season, as voted by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 29 cities.

A 2008-09 First Team AHL All-Star, Schneider leads the league in goals-against average (1.99) and is tied for first in save percentage (.929) while ranking third in shutouts (five) and sixth in victories. He has allowed three goals or fewer in 35 of his 39 appearances and at 28-9-1, he has helped the Moose to a North Division championship and the best regular-season record in franchise history. Schneider, who was voted the starting goaltender for the PlanetUSA team at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic, won 13 consecutive decisions from Oct. 17 to Jan. 10 and has been named Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month (November) and Reebok/AHL Player of the Week (week ending Mar. 29).

A 23-year-old native of Marblehead, Mass., Schneider was a first-round draft choice (26th overall) by Vancouver in 2004 and played three seasons at Boston College. He was 21-12-2 in 36 games as a rookie with Manitoba last season and posted a 1.92 GAA and .938 save percentage in six postseason appearances last spring. Schneider made his National Hockey League debut with the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 29, 2008, and has appeared in eight NHL games this season.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Manny Legace (1996), Jean-Francois Labbe (1997), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Dany Sabourin (2006) and Michael Leighton (2008).

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.