SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that goaltender Jordan Sigalet of the Providence Bruins has been named the 2007-08 winner of the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
During his junior season at Bowling Green State University in 2004, Sigalet was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system with unpredictable and wide-varying symptoms such as fatigue, numbness, paralysis and vision loss. On Nov. 16, 2007, in the third period of a game vs. Worcester, Sigalet lost consciousness and collapsed in his crease, an episode attributed to his MS. Paralyzed from the waist down, Sigalet was hospitalized for two weeks and then spent two more weeks at a rehab facility to rebuild his strength and walk on his own again. He rejoined his teammates at practice shortly before Christmas and made his return to game action on Jan. 11, stopping all 18 shots he faced in 36 minutes of work.
A 27-year-old native of New Westminster, B.C., and a 2001 draft choice by the Boston Bruins, Sigalet has played a total of 19 games for the AHL’s Atlantic Division champion P-Bruins this season, going 12-5-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Sigalet’s battle with MS off the ice is a constant one, and he continues to build awareness and raise money for multiple sclerosis research through his Web site, ShutOutMS.com, as well as through his partnerships with EMD Serono and the Rhode Island chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
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. Previous winners of the award include Ross Yates (1983), Glenn Merkosky (1987, ’91), Bruce Boudreau (1988), Murray Eaves (’89, ’90), John Anderson (1992), Ken Gernander (1996, 2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2000), Eric Healey (2003), Chris Ferraro (2003), Mark Cullen (2006) and Mike Keane (2007).
Currently in its 72nd season of play, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 83 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in each of the past six seasons. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.