IceHogs announce 2004-05 season awards
Rockford, Ill.- Prior to Sunday's 2004-05 Rockford IceHogs regular season finale at the Rockford MetroCentre against the Missouri River Otters, the IceHogs announced their annual season awards at a ceremony on the ice. The club handed out eight awards for this season's team, the most successful in franchise history.
For the fifth time in franchise history, the Hogs had co-MVPs. IceHogs leading point scorer J.F. Dufour and leading goal scorer J.C. Ruid were awarded the WXRX MVP Award. Dufour has been the IceHogs most consistent scorer all season long and his point total is the third highest in franchise history. Dufour also received the IceHogs award for Leading Scorer. Ruid, who despite missing nearly a month-and-half due to injury, put up the second most goals (36) in a season in franchise history, second only to Jason Firth 37 in 1999-2000.
Defenseman Nathan Lutz picked up a pair of awards as well. In his second season with the IceHogs, the only holdover from last season's club was awarded his second straight Top Defenseman Award. Lutz joins former blue-liner Jeff DaCosta as the only two-time winner of the award. The d-man's hard work and commitment of the team also earned him the Fan Favorite Award, voted on by fans at each home game during the regular season.
The Rookie of the Year Award was given to defenseman Steve Pelletier. Pelletier has helped anchor the blue-line that has been hindered by injuries and call-ups all season long. Before Sunday's game, Pelletier was the all-time rookie plus/minus record holder.
Another rookie took home some hardware Sunday, as winger Miguel Lafleche was awarded the IceHogs Most Improved Player. Lafleche lead the IceHogs in scoring in the month of March and has been one of the club's most consistent contributors.
Probably the award that will be contested most because there are so many players worthy of the honor, center Olivier Proulx was given the Unsung Hero Award. Proulx has established himself around the UHL as one of toughest players to play against. The second year skater ranks second on the club in goals, assists and points while drawing several penalties on the opposition.
Finally, tough winger Eric Labelle was decorated as the team Heavy Hitter. Labelle set franchise records for penalty minutes (386) in a season and major penalties (30) in a campaign. Despite receiving two call-ups, including one that has had him with the Utah Grizzlies for nearly a month, Labelle continues to pace the UHL in PIM's.
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