Pirates’ Gerbe takes Dudley (Red) Garrett Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that left wing Nathan Gerbe of the Portland Pirates has been named the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2008-09 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 29 member cities.

Gerbe, a 21-year-old native of Oxford, Mich., has registered 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points in 54 contests for the Pirates this season, leading all AHL rookies in scoring average with 0.98 points per game and ranking tied for second with 11 power-play goals. He recorded two assists in his professional debut on Oct. 11 vs. Manchester and scored his first two pro goals on Oct. 18 at Springfield, and soon notched his first hat trick on Nov. 5 at Worcester – the beginning of an eight-game scoring streak. Gerbe was voted into the starting lineup for the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic but missed the event due to injury.

Gerbe was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL draft and played three seasons at Boston College. Last season, he led the nation in scoring and was named the MVP of both the Hockey East tournament and the Frozen Four as he powered the Eagles to an NCAA championship. Gerbe made his National Hockey League debut with Buffalo on Dec. 6, 2008, and has tallied one assist in 10 NHL games.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1947, honors the late Dudley (Red) Garrett, a promising young player who lost his life during World War II while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Garrett split his only pro season, 1942-43, between the AHL’s Providence Reds and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Previous winners of the Garrett Award include Terry Sawchuk (1949), Wally Hergesheimer (1951), Jimmy Anderson (1955), Bill Sweeney (1958), Roger Crozier (1964), Gerry Desjardins (1968), Rick Middleton (1974), Darryl Sutter (1980), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Steve Thomas (1985), Ron Hextall (1986), Brett Hull (1987), Felix Potvin (1992), Darcy Tucker (1996), Daniel Briere (1998), Tyler Arnason (2002), Darren Haydar (2003), Wade Dubielewicz (2004), Rene Bourque (2005), Patrick O’Sullivan (2006), Brett Sterling (2007) and Teddy Purcell (2008).

Currently in its 73rd season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 50 million fans have attended AHL games across North America over the past eight years. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.