SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that John McCarthy of the San Jose Barracuda is the 2019-20 winner of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 31 cities.
The captain of the Barracuda since 2016, McCarthy concluded a distinguished 11-year pro career in December after suffering an ischemic stroke due to a previously undetected hole in his heart. Following swift medical attention from the team’s medical staff and physicians at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, McCarthy made a complete recovery and joined the Barracuda coaching staff as an assistant on Dec. 27, allowing him to continue mentoring the San Jose Sharks’ top prospects.
McCarthy, 33, played 577 games in the American Hockey League – all but 25 with the Sharks’ affiliates in San Jose (2015-19) and Worcester (2009-15). He totaled 130 goals and 167 assists for 297 points in the AHL, and is the Barracuda’s all-time leader in games played (275), goals (62), assists (76) and points (138). McCarthy notched four goals in 18 contests with San Jose in 2019-20.
Originally drafted by the Sharks in 2006, McCarthy also had three goals and three assists in 88 career NHL games with San Jose. He was a member of the United States Olympic men’s hockey team in 2018, and co-captained Boston University to an NCAA championship in 2009.
This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1978, honors the late Fred T. Hunt, a long-time contributor to the league who won three Calder Cup championships as a player and three more as a general manager during a career spent primarily with the AHL’s Buffalo Bisons and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Previous winners of the award include Ross Yates (1983), Glenn Merkosky (1987, ‘91), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Murray Eaves (‘89, ‘90), John Anderson (1992), Tim Tookey (1993), Ken Gernander (1996, 2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2000), Mike Keane (2007), Bryan Helmer (2011), Jake Dowell (2014), Tom Kostopoulos (2016), Craig Cunningham (2017), Bracken Kearns (2018) and Brett Sutter (2019).
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 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 winner of the 2019-20 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award (outstanding coach) will be announced on Friday.