SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced that Jason LaBarbera of the Manchester Monarchs has won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2006-07 season.
Since 1972, the award has been presented to the goaltender(s) appearing in at least 25 games for the team which allows the fewest goals in the regular season.
This is LaBarbera’s second Holmes Award in the last three seasons. He shared the award with current New York Rangers goaltender Steve Valiquette for Hartford in 2004-05.
Manchester, which finished the regular season with a record of 51-21-7-1, allowed just 182 goals in 2006-07 en route to the Atlantic Division championship. The Monarchs are on their way to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, and will open their division semifinal series against Worcester on Wednesday night. LaBarbera was the only one of the Monarchs’ three goaltenders this season to qualify for the award, playing in a league-high 62 games.
LaBarbera, also a First Team AHL All-Star and winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award as the top goaltender in the American Hockey League, posted a record of 39-20-1 and led the AHL in wins, save percentage (.933), minutes played (3,619), shots faced (1,995) and saves (1,862), tied for the league lead in shutouts (7) and ranked fourth with a 2.21 goals-against average.
The Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, which was first awarded in 1948 to the goaltender with the best goals-against average in the AHL, is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Harry “Hap” Holmes, a prominent figure in early professional hockey and an outstanding goaltender of his time. Previous winners or co-winners of the award include Gil Mayer (1951, ’53, ’54, ’55, ’56), Johnny Bower (1957, ’58), Marcel Paille (1961, ’62), Gerry Cheevers (1965), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Pete Peeters (1979), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Olaf Kolzig (1994), Mike Dunham (1995), Manny Legace (1996), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1998), Martin Biron (1999), Mika Noronen (2001), Joey MacDonald (2003), Wade Dubielewicz (2004) and Dany Sabourin (2006).
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.