SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Brett Sutter of the Ontario Reign is the 2018-19 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 31 cities.
In his second season as captain of the Reign and fifth overall wearing the “C” for his AHL club, Sutter has continued to be a model of professionalism and leadership in this, his 12th American Hockey League season. The 31-year-old Sutter has reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career in 2018-19, adding 24 assists for 44 points to match his highest output since 2013. On Mar. 12, Sutter – who has played in 269 of his teams’ 273 games over the last four seasons – became just the 39th player in AHL history to appear in 800 career regular-season contests.
A native of Viking, Alta., Sutter is one of nine members of his family to play in the National Hockey League, along with his father Darryl, five uncles and two cousins. Sutter was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in 2005 and has totaled 153 goals and 212 assists for 365 points in 811 games over his AHL career in Ontario, Iowa, Charlotte, Abbotsford and Quad City, along with two goals and eight assists in 60 NHL contests with Minnesota, Carolina and Calgary.
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), Brandon Davidson (2013), Jake Dowell (2014), Tom Kostopoulos (2016), Craig Cunningham (2017) and Bracken Kearns (2018).
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 2018-19 regular season ends on Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.