Haydar, Sterling win AHL scoring races

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … As the 2006-07 American Hockey League regular season concluded today, the AHL announced that Darren Haydar of the Chicago Wolves has won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League for the 2006-07 season, while Wolves teammate Brett Sterling has won the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer.

Haydar, a First Team AHL All-Star at right wing and the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player, recorded 41 goals and 81 assists for 122 points in 2006-07, the seventh-highest total in American Hockey League history. His 39-game scoring streak from Oct. 7 to Jan. 6 was the longest ever by an AHL player, and he finished the season with points in 63 of his 73 games played, including 36 multiple-point efforts.

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), Tim Taylor (1994), Brad Smyth (1996), Peter White (1995, ’97, ’98), Derek Armstrong (2001) and Jason Spezza (2005).

Sterling finished with 55 goals, the third-highest total by a rookie in American Hockey League history, to become the first rookie since 1989 to lead the league in goals. The 22-year-old Los Angeles native also ranked fourth with 97 points in 77 games, and captured the Dudley “Red” Garrett Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie. Sterling earned a nod as a First Team AHL All-Star as well as a berth on the AHL’s All-Rookie Team.

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 – in 1957-58 when he recorded a career-best 104 points. Marshall is also the AHL’s all-time leader in postseason scoring with 119 points in 112 Calder Cup Playoff games.

Jeff Hamilton (2004), Mike Cammalleri (2005), Donald MacLean (2006) and Denis Hamel (2006) 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), Brad Smyth (1996, 2001) and Peter White (1997).

Currently in its 71st season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 83 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 6.3 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in each of the past five seasons. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway on Wednesday night.