Rockford, Ill. – Before the Rockford IceHogs took the ice Saturday at the BMO Harris Bank Center for their regular season finale against the Toronto Marlies, the club announced the team award winners for the 2014-15 campaign.
The awards were presented to the winners by Chicago Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard in a special pre-game ceremony.
Goaltender Michael Leighton earned the IceHogs Most Valuable Player award after putting together a historic season. The Petrolia, Ontario native posted five shutouts in 2014-15 to climb up the AHL ranks and tie Gil Mayer (1949-63) for second place all-time with 41 in his AHL career. Leighton finished with a 22-13-4 record, and his 2.26 goal against average tied for 11th best in the league while his .921 save percentage was good for 14th.
Defenseman Ville Pokka was named the Rookie of the Year after compiling 30 points (8g-22a) entering tonight’s season finale. Pokka is first among Rockford blueliners in points and he paces all rookies on the club with five power play tallies.
In his ninth season, Kyle Cumiskey is the recipient of the team’s Defenseman of the Year award. Cumiskey provided veteran leadership to an ever-changing defensive unit while making a successful return to the North American game. The 28 year-old racked up 20 points (2g-18a) in 54 games for the IceHogs and appeared in seven tilts with the Blackhawks.
The Heavy Hitter award was presented to forward Cody Bass. The veteran not only provided leadership for a young IceHogs squad but he also added a physical presence in the lineup throughout the season. Bass registered 14 points (6g-8a) in 61 contests, and set a career high with 165 penalty minutes which led the IceHogs.
Forward Peter Regin took home the Unsung Hero award. The 10th year pro compiled his best offensive season since 2008-09 with 10 goals and 31 assists heading into Saturday’s game. The 29-year-old was called upon as the alternate captain in 41 games for Rockford this season.
Phillip Danault was honored as the team’s Most Improved Player. In his second season with the IceHogs, Danault increased his output from a season ago in goals (13), assists (25), points (38) and plus/minus (+20). The former first round draft choice was also a key cog on the IceHogs penalty kill unit where he is tied for a league-best three shorthanded tallies. The 22 year-old also joined the Blackhawks for two games this season, making his NHL debut in November.
Fan favorite Zach Miskovic earned the IceHogs Man of the Year award for his dedication and commitment to bettering the lives of those in the Rockford community. The d-man actively participated in numerous IceHogs events throughout the season, including making trips to several schools and hospitals, and helping at youth hockey practices.
The following is a summary of the 2014-15 Rockford IceHogs Awards:
Most Valuable Player:Michael Leighton
Rookie of the Year:Ville Pokka
Defenseman of the Year:Kyle Cumiskey
Unsung Hero:Peter Regin
Heavy Hitter:Cody Bass
Most Improved Player:Phillip Danault
Man of the Year:Zach Miskovic