AMERKS HAND OUT 2011-12 TEAM AWARDSNews | 4/14/2012 12:42:07 AM | Dan Peters
Prior to the start of the regular season home finale against Syracuse on Friday night, the Rochester Americans announced the winners of the club’s annual awards that are handed out at the end of each season.
The Ricoh USA Most Valuable Player award, as voted on by the Amerks players, was presented to netminder David Leggio. The 27-year-old currently ranks among the top five AHL goaltenders in wins, saves and and minutes played. The Williamsville, NY, native enters the final game of the season having started 22 straight games. Leggio was also presented with the Most Popular Player Award as voted on by the Amerks Booster Club.
Phil Varone was voted by his teammates as the AT&T Most Improved Player and also claimed the team scoring title. Skating in his first professional campaign, Varone has produced 52 points (11+41) in 75 games heading into the regular season finale on Saturday at Lake Erie. Even more impressive, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound centerman has scored 46 of his team-leading 52 points since December 9.
The Rob Zabelny Award honors the Amerks Unsung Hero and is voted on by members of the Rochester media. This award recognizes a player that exhibits courage, enthusiasm and love for the game of hockey, and was presented to defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. Morrisonn, a veteran of over 700 professional games, has spent the season anchoring Rochester’s shutdown defensive pairing, which skates against the opposition’s top forward line night in and night out.
Greece native Derek Whitmore earned the McCulloch Trophy as the player who has contributed the most humanitarian service to the community over the course of the season. The 27-year-old has spent countless hours reading to kids at libraries, making visits to hospitals and Foodlink and skating with numerous youth and high school hockey teams to take home this award.
Team captain Colin Stuart was the recipient of the Fairand/O’Neil Sportsmanship Award, which is selected by the Amerks Off-Ice Officials. Stuart, the 53rd captain in team history, has demonstrated sportsmanship by serving as a leader both on and off the ice.
The Rochester Americans Booster Club also presents several awards which are selected by its members. In addition to Leggio being named Most Popular, Marcus Foligno captured both the Rookie of the Year and the Game-Winning Goals Awards. Foligno, who spent considerable time with the Buffalo Sabres late in the season, has contributed 38 points (16+22), including four game-winning tallies, in just 59 games for Rochester this season.