SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Hershey Bears left wing Alexandre Giroux capped his MVP season with two more awards on Sunday, securing the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League and the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer for the 2008-09 campaign.
A First Team AHL All-Star and the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player, Giroux finished with 60 goals and 97 points in 69 games for Hershey, which finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 49-23-2-6 (106 points). Giroux became the fifth player in AHL history to score 60 goals in a season and set a league record for goals in a season by a left wing. His streak earlier in the year of a goal in 15 consecutive games also established a new AHL mark.
The AHL’s leading-scorer trophy was originally named after Wally Kilrea, who held the AHL’s single-season scoring record when the award was instituted in 1947-48. That year, Carl Liscombe broke Kilrea’s record, and the award was renamed in his honor. In 1955, the AHL Board of Governors voted to name the trophy after John B. Sollenberger, a long-time contributor to the league as manager and president of the Hershey Bears and former Chairman of the AHL Board of Governors. Previous winners of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy include Fred Glover (1957, ’60), Willie Marshall (1958), Bill Sweeney (1961, ’62, ’63), Don Blackburn (1972), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Peter White (1995, ’97, ’98), Derek Armstrong (2001), Jason Spezza (2005), Darren Haydar (2007) and Jason Krog (2008).
The AHL’s goal-scoring award was established in 2004 to honor Willie Marshall, the AHL’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played. During his 20-year AHL playing career, Marshall won three Calder Cup championships (1955, 1958, 1959) and one scoring title.
Jeff Hamilton (2004), Mike Cammalleri (2005), Donald MacLean (2006), Denis Hamel (2006), Brett Sterling (2007) and Jason Krog (2008) were the first winners of the Willie Marshall Award. Other previous yearly goal-scoring leaders include Bryan Hextall (1937), Lou Trudel (1942, ’45), Fred Glover (1951), Dunc Fisher (1958), Jimmy Anderson (1961, ’64), Yvon Lambert (1973), Gordie Clark (1980), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Jody Gage (1988) and Brad Smyth (1996, 2001).
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 on Wednesday night.