SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … As the 2005-06 American Hockey League regular season concluded today, the AHL announced that Kirby Law of the Houston Aeros has won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League for the 2005-06 season, while Denis Hamel of the Binghamton Senators and Donald MacLean of the Grand Rapids Griffins will share the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorers.
Law, a First Team AHL All-Star at right wing, had the most prolific season of his eight-year professional career in 2005-06, recording 43 goals and 67 assists for a league-leading and franchise-record 110 points while skating in all 80 games for Houston. Law, who also led the Aeros with a plus/minus rating of plus-16, established a franchise record with a 16-game scoring streak earlier in the season, tallied at least one point in 61 of his 80 games played and wound up with 32 multiple-point performances.
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).
Hamel and MacLean finished with 56 goals each, tied for the eighth-highest total in American Hockey League history. Hamel equaled an AHL record with 27 power-play goals and recorded 11 multiple-goal games on the year, including two three-goal efforts and a four-goal night on Mar. 8 against Norfolk. Hamel, who also had one goal in four NHL games with Ottawa this season, added 35 assists to finish sixth in the league in scoring with 91 points on the year.
MacLean scored a goal in eight consecutive games from Feb. 25 to Mar. 14, and finished the season with five hat tricks among his 13 multiple-goal efforts. MacLean tied for the AHL lead with nine game-winning goals on the season, and chipped in 32 assists for 88 points, seventh in the overall scoring race. MacLean added a goal and an assist in three NHL games with Detroit in 2005-06.
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) and Mike Cammalleri (2005) were the first two 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), Peter White (1997) and Eric Healey (2003).
In operation since 1936, the AHL is celebrating its historic 70th anniversary this season, and continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Over 80 percent of all NHL players today are AHL graduates, and more than 350 AHL players have been recalled to the NHL this season alone. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway on Tuesday night.