Morin, Boychuk win AHL scoring races

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. Travis Morin of the Texas Stars has won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading scorer in the American Hockey League, while Zach Boychuk of the Charlotte Checkers has won the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal scorer for the 2013-14 campaign.

Morin, who was voted the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player this season, led the league in scoring wire-to-wire after notching four points for Texas on opening night. He finished with 88 points (32 goals, 56 assists) in 66 games played for the Stars, doubling his 44-point output from a year ago and helping Texas to the best record in the AHL. The CCM/AHL Player of the Month in both October and January, Morin began the season on a 10-game scoring streak and went without a point in consecutive games on just four occasions all year.

A 30-year-old native of Brooklyn Park, Minn., Morin also appeared in four games with the Dallas Stars this season, picking up an assist for his first career NHL point. In 350 career AHL games with Texas and Hershey, Morin has totaled 99 goals and 197 assists for 296 points.

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), Alexandre Giroux (2009), Keith Aucoin (2010), Corey Locke (2011), Chris Bourque (2012) and Brandon Pirri (2013).

Boychuk captured the AHL goal-scoring title with 36 goals in 69 games, also finishing second in the league with 74 points. A Second Team AHL All-Star at left wing, Boychuk notched seven multiple-goal games on the season, including three hat tricks. The 24-year old native of Airdrie, Alta., also recorded one goal and three assists in 11 NHL games with Carolina this season. Boychuk has tallied 117 goals and 146 assists for 263 points in 296 career AHL contests.

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; winners include Mike Cammalleri (2005), Brett Sterling (2007), Jason Krog (2008), Alexandre Giroux (2009, ’10), Colin McDonald (2011), Cory Conacher (2012) and Tyler Johnson (2013). 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).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway Wednesday.