Ennis named Rookie of the Year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that forward Tyler Ennis of the Portland Pirates has been named the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2009-10 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 29 member cities.

Ennis, a first-round draft choice (26th overall) by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, leads all AHL rookies with 23 goals (tied), 42 assists and 65 points in 69 games for Portland this season. He is also second with six game-winning goals and third with nine power-play tallies. Ennis’s first four professional points came courtesy of a hat trick plus an assist vs. Hartford on Oct. 16, his first of 18 multiple-point efforts on the season. The 20-year-old native of Edmonton, Alta., represented the Pirates at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic in Portland and was voted the most valuable player of the All-Star Game. He also scored a goal in his National Hockey League debut with Buffalo on Nov. 14 and has gone on to post three goals and five assists for eight points in seven games with the Sabres.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1947, honors the late Dudley (Red) Garrett, a promising young player who lost his life during World War II while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Garrett split his only pro season, 1942-43, between the AHL’s Providence Reds and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Ennis becomes the second consecutive Portland player to win the Garrett Award, following Nathan Gerbe in 2009. Other previous winners of the Garrett Award include Terry Sawchuk (1949), Wally Hergesheimer (1951), Jimmy Anderson (1955), Bill Sweeney (1958), Roger Crozier (1964), Gerry Desjardins (1968), Rick Middleton (1974), Darryl Sutter (1980), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Steve Thomas (1985), Ron Hextall (1986), Brett Hull (1987), Felix Potvin (1992), Darcy Tucker (1996), Daniel Briere (1998), Tyler Arnason (2002), Darren Haydar (2003), Wade Dubielewicz (2004), Rene Bourque (2005), Patrick O’Sullivan (2006), Brett Sterling (2007) and Teddy Purcell (2008).

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.