SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that left wing Brett Sterling of the Chicago Wolves has been named the winner of the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2006-07 season, as voted by AHL players and media in each of the league’s 27 member cities.
Sterling, a 22-year-old native of Los Angeles, has scripted one of the most prolific rookie campaigns in American Hockey League annals, becoming just the fifth rookie in the league’s 71-year history to score at least 50 goals in a season. Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Sterling leads the AHL with 52 goals and ranks fourth with 93 points in 74 games for Chicago. He was named a First Team AHL All-Star last week, the first rookie since 1999 to earn such an honor, and earned a spot on the league’s All-Rookie Team for 2006-07.
Sterling, who also leads the AHL with 21 power-play goals, was a winner of the Rbk Hockey/AHL Rookie of the Month award in both November and December, combining for 30 goals in 26 games during those two months, including the longest goal-scoring streak in the league this season (nine games) from Dec. 12-29. He was voted to the starting lineup for the PlanetUSA team at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, and earned MVP honors at the All-Star Game after recording four points in a 7-6 victory.
A fifth-round draft pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2003, Sterling was a four-year standout at Colorado College, and was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker award in both his junior (2004-05) and senior (2005-06) seasons.
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), 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), Donald Audette (1990), Felix Potvin (1992), Darcy Tucker (1996), Daniel Briere (1998), Tyler Arnason (2002), Darren Haydar (2003), Wade Dubielewicz (2004), Rene Bourque (2005) and Patrick O’Sullivan (2006).
Now in its 71st 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 6.3 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in each of the past five seasons. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.