SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that defenseman Casey Borer of the Albany River Rats has been named the 2009-10 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 29 cities.
A third-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2004, Borer was among those most seriously injured in the River Rats’ Feb. 19, 2009 bus crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike. He suffered a fractured neck vertebra which ended his 2008-09 season, and following a setback over the summer, Borer underwent surgery on his neck in September and was placed in a neck brace for six weeks. After spending nearly a full year recovering from the injury, Borer returned to Albany’s lineup on Jan. 23, 2010, and he is now back in an everyday role with the River Rats.
A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Borer has recorded a goal and eight assists in 28 games for the River Rats this season. The 24-year-old registered 19 points (6-13-19) as an AHL rookie in 2007-08 and posted 10 points (4-6-10) in 51 games last season prior to his injury. Borer has also appeared in 14 career National Hockey League games for Carolina, contributing a goal and two assists.
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. 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), Jordan Sigalet (2008) and Ajay Baines (2009).
In operation since 1936, 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 6.5 million fans per season have attended AHL games across North America since 2001. Over the past 74 years, the AHL has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.