SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Tom Kostopoulos of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been named the 2015-16 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 30 cities.
In his 17th season of professional hockey, Kostopoulos has continued to perform at a high level with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, needing one goal to secure his sixth career 20-goal season and ranking second on the team in scoring with 48 points in 69 games thus far – his highest offensive production since 2005. Now in the third year of his second stint as Penguins captain (2002-04, 2013- ), Kostopoulos joined exclusive company on Mar. 6 when he became just the fourth player in hockey history to skate in 600 regular-season games in both the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. He remains synonymous with leadership and character both within the organization and by opponents around the American Hockey League, as evidenced by the many young Pittsburgh Penguins prospects who have learned the professional game under his guidance.
The AHL Penguins franchise’s all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points, Kostopoulos has totaled 182 goals and 281 assists for 463 points in 611 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Manchester, along with 61 goals and 96 assists for 157 points in 630 NHL contests with Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Montreal, Carolina, Calgary and New Jersey. A native of Mississauga, Ont., Kostopoulos also has 60 points in 82 Calder Cup Playoff contests, helping the Penguins reach the Finals in 2001 and 2004.
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), Ajay Baines (2009), Bryan Helmer (2011), Brandon Davidson (2013), Jake Dowell (2014) and Jeff Hoggan (2015).
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. The 2015-16 regular season ends on Apr. 17, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway the following week.
The winner of the 2015-16 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award (outstanding coach) will be announced later today.