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Phantoms’ O’Reilly wins Fred T. Hunt Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Cal O’Reilly of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms is the 2020-21 winner of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 28 active member cities.

A prolific playmaker throughout his 15 pro seasons, O’Reilly recorded four goals and 19 assists for 23 points with only 12 penalty minutes in 32 games for Lehigh Valley in 2020-21, serving as the Phantoms’ captain and leading his team in scoring for the fifth time in his AHL career. With three assists in a win over Binghamton on April 26, 2021, O’Reilly became just the 10th player in AHL history to reach 500 assists for his AHL career.

O’Reilly, who has captained four different AHL clubs over the last seven years, has totaled 130 goals and 503 assists for 633 points in 751 regular-season games with Milwaukee, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Portland, Utica, Rochester, Toronto, Iowa and Lehigh Valley, while amassing just 154 minutes in penalties – including zero majors or misconducts. The five-time AHL All-Star has also skated in 88 playoff games in the AHL, recording 15 goals and 44 assists for 59 points and reaching the Calder Cup Finals with Milwaukee in 2006 and with Utica in 2015.

A 2005 draft choice by Nashville (fifth round), O’Reilly has played 145 games in the NHL with Nashville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Minnesota, recording 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1978, honors the late Fred T. Hunt, a long-time contributor to the league who won three Calder Cup championships as a player and three more as a general manager during a career spent primarily with the AHL’s Buffalo Bisons and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Previous winners of the award include Ross Yates (1983), Glenn Merkosky (1987, ‘91), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Murray Eaves (‘89, ‘90), John Anderson (1992), Tim Tookey (1993), Ken Gernander (1996, 2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2000), Mike Keane (2007), Bryan Helmer (2011), Jake Dowell (2014), Tom Kostopoulos (2016), Craig Cunningham (2017), Bracken Kearns (2018), Brett Sutter (2019) and John McCarthy (2020).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 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.

The winner of the 2020-21 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award (outstanding coach) will be announced on Friday.