BINGHAMTON – The American Hockey League announced today that Jason Spezza is the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the most valuable player of the American Hockey League for the 2004-05 season. The award was voted on by players and members of the media in each of the league’s 28 cities.
The former second overall pick by the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft leads the AHL with 113 points (32 goals, 81 assists) in 78 games. His point total is the most by an AHL player since 1996 and his current 18-game scoring streak (7 goals, 25 assists) is the longest since Steve Guolla scored in 19 straight games for Kentucky during the 1997-98 season. Spezza has registered 34 multiple-point games this season and was twice named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week.
Spezza is also the frontrunner to win the John B. Sollenberger Trophy which is awarded to the AHL’s leading scorer during the regular season. Manchester center Mike Cammalleri is five points behind Spezza going into tonight’s games with three contests left to play. Spezza, who turns 22 in June, was named a 2004-05 AHL First Team All Star last week and participated in the 2005 Dodge AHL All Star Classic in February.
On March 30th Spezza became the first player since Derek Armstrong of Hartford in 2001 to break the 100-point plateau. His 113 points are the most since former B-Sen Brad Smyth had 126 points (68 goals, 58 assists) for Carolina during the 1995-96 season and his 81 assists are the most since Tim Taylor had the same amount for Adirondack during the 1993-94 season. Spezza is the first Binghamton hockey player to win the Les Cunningham Award since recent Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Don Biggs won it with the Binghamton Rangers at the conclusion of the 1992-93 season. Other Binghamton players to win the award include former Binghamton Whalers Paul Gardner in 1985 and Ross Yates in 1983.
The Mississauga, Ontario native began his professional career with 54 points (22 goals, 32 assists) in 43 games for the B-Sens during the 2002-03 season. He then spent all of the 2003-04 season playing in the NHL for Ottawa registering 55 points (22 goals, 33 assists) in 78 games.
Binghamton returns to action tonight with a 7:30 p.m. game in Syracuse against the Crunch. The B-Sens regular season home finale will be tomorrow night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
Tickets for the first two home games of the upcoming Calder Cup playoffs may be purchased beginning on Saturday, April 16th
at 9 a.m. in the Senators’ executive office on the third floor of the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena and at noon at the Arena box office. Tickets will also be available at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.binghamtonsenators.com
and by calling (607) 722-SENS.