Pens’ Sabourin takes Holmes Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced that Dany Sabourin of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2005-06 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.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which finished their regular season with a record of 51-18-5-6, allowed just 178 goals in 2005-06, more than 30 goals fewer than any other AHL team. The Penguins captured the East Division championship and are on their way to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in seven years, opening their division semifinal series against Bridgeport on Thursday night.

Sabourin was the only one of the Penguins’ four goaltenders this season to qualify for the award, playing in 49 games. Sabourin, 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 30-14-4 with a league-leading 2.26 goals-against average, a league-leading .922 save percentage and four shutouts (tied for third).

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), 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) and Jason LaBarbera (2005).

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 this week.

Award history