Injured Sanford voted Bulldogs MVP

Goaltender Curtis Sanford, who has not played since Feb. 26 and will miss all playoff games, has been named The Hamilton Bulldogs most valuable player for the 2010-11 season.

Sanford underwent successful shoulder surgery in March to sideline him for the balance of the year. His MVP award was one of several individual honours the team announced on Saturday (April 16). Bulldogs players vote on the award.

Previous winners include: Steve Passmore (1998-99), Daniel Cleary (1999-00), Paul Healey and Brian Swanson (2000-01), Brian Swanson (2001-02), Jason Ward (2002-03), Benoit Gratton (2003-04), Chris Higgins (2004-05), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (2005-06), Jaroslav Halak (2006-07), Jaroslav Halak (2007-08), Marc Denis (2008-09), and David Desharnais (2009-10).

The leading scorer award went to 19 Nigel Dawes. Previous winners include Tomas Plekanec (2004-05), Corey Locke (2005-06), Duncan Milroy (2006-07), Corey Locke (2007-08), Yanick Lehoux (2008-09), and David Desharnais (2009-10).

Dawes spent the first half of the season with the Chicago Wolves before joining the ‘Dogs following a trade between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Montreal Canadiens. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound left wing finished the season leading the Bulldogs in points with 72 (41 goals, 31 assists) after joining Hamilton on Feb. 24. The native of Winnipeg, was named an AHL Second-Team All-Star as his 41 goals were the most ever recorded by a Bulldogs player and ranked second in the AHL.

The best defenceman award, as chosen by the local media, is Frederic St. Denis.

Previous winners include Todd Reirden (1998-99), Alex Zhurik (1999-00), Rory Fitzpatrick (2001-02), Sven Butenschon (2001-02), Marc-Andre Bergeron (2002-03), Francois Beauchemin and Patrick Traverse (2003-04), Dan Jancevski (2004-05), Dan Smith (2005-06), Dan Jancevski (2006-07), Jean-Philippe Cote (2007-08), Dan Jancevski (2008-09), and P.K. Subban (2009-10).

St. Denis a 25-year-old native of Greenfield Park, Quebec reached career-highs in goals with five, assists with 18 and points with 23. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound defenceman also played in a career-high 76 games while being a +16 and recording 108 shots on net.

The top rookie, as chosen by the Hamilton Bulldogs Radio Broadcast Team, is Brendon Nash. Previous winners include Yann Danis (2004-05), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (2005-06), Jaroslav Halak (2006-07), Pavel Valentenko (2007-08), David Desharnais, Ben Maxwell & Yannick Weber (2008-09), and P.K. Subban (2009-10).

Defenceman Nash is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound defender who ranked second among ‘Dogs defencemen in scoring this season with 30 points (five goals, 25 assists) in 75 games. The native of Kamloops, B.C. led all AHL rookie defencemen and tied for the Hamilton team-lead in +/- with a +22 rating.

The Community Leadership award winner is Alex Henry. Previous winners, determined by the Bulldogs Hockey Club staff, include: Jeff Daw (1998-99), Mike Minard (1999-00), Ryan Risidore (2000-01), Alain Nasreddine (2001-02), Jason Ward (2003-03), Duncan Milroy (2003-04), Duncan Milroy (2004-05), Corey Locke (2005-06), Corey Locke (2006-07), Ajay Baines (2007-08), Ben Maxwell (2008-09), and Eric Neilson (2009-10).

Henry, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound defenceman donated his time this year to help and support a number of events including the Hamilton Bulldogs Summer Hockey Camp, the Dawgs Breakfast Program, the Bulldogs Foundation “My Favourite Things” charity auction and led his teammates through a number of team community events such as fan skates, autograph sessions and visits with local minor hockey teams.

The native of Elliot Lake, Ont., also took charge of ‘Movember’ which encouraged Bulldogs players to grow moustaches for the month of November to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer. Henry was voted as having the best moustache and raised the most money as he contributed $1,235 to the team total of $6,214.

The Bill Sturrup Trophy, as voted on by The Growl – the Hamilton Bulldogs’ Booster Club, is Sanford, who earmed two awards. In 40 games with the ‘Dogs this season, the native of Owen Sound, amassed a record of 22-13-2 while ranking first in the AHL in goals-against-average with a 1.93 GAA and second in save percentage with a .930 SV% and recording five shutouts. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound goaltender was a member of the Western Conference team at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic and was named an AHL Second-Team All-Star but had his season cut short because of injury.

Previous winners include Chris Ferraro (1998-99), Mike Minard (1999-00), Jason Chimera (2000-01), Brian Swanson (2001-02), Marc-Andre Bergeron (2002-03), Duncan Milroy (2003-04), Corey Locke (2004-05), J.J. Hunter, Jean-Francois Jacques (2005-06), Duncan Milroy (2006-07), Ajay Baines (2007-08), Kyle Chipchura (2008-09), and P.K. Subban (2009-10).

The Molson Cup (three stars of the game) as voted on by the media at each game throughout the season, is Aaron Palushaj.

Previous Winners: Steve Passmore (1998-99), Daniel Cleary (1999-00), Paul Healey (2000-01), Brian Swanson (2001-02), Jason Ward (2002-03), Jozef Balej (2003-04), Yann Danis (2004-05), Jean-Francois Jacques (2005-06), Duncan Milroy (2006-07), Corey Locke (2007-08), Marc Denis (2008-09), and Brock Trotter (2010-11).

The Workhorse of the Year: (hardest working Bulldogs Player) voted on by the local media at each home game and by the Hamilton Bulldogs Radio Broadcast Team after each road game throughout the season is Aaron Palushaj.
Previous Winners: Steve Potvin (1998-99), Brian Swanson (1999-00), Chad Hinz (2000-01), Jason Chimera (2001-02), Tony Salmelainen & Jarret Stoll (2002-03), Jozef Balej (2003-04), Steve Ott (2004-05), Maxim Lapierre (2005-06), Kyle Chipchura (2006-07), Jonathan Ferland (2007-08), David Desharnais (2008-09), and David Desharnais (2009-10).

Palushaj, a native of Northville, Michigan ranked second on the Bulldogs in points with 57 (22 goals, 35 assists). The 5-foot-11, 177-pound right winger had career-highs in goals, assists and points and also played in his first three NHL games with Montreal this season.