The most decorated player in the Canisius College program's history, Cory Conacher '11 added the Les Cunningham Award as the American Hockey League Most Valuable Player to his collection, announced by the AHL on Friday. Conacher, a member of the Golden Griffins from 2007 to 2011, is in his first full season of professional hockey with the Norfolk Admirals after graduating from Canisius last year.
The award was voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league's 30 member cities. Conacher is just the fourth rookie to win the award since it was first presented in 1947-48, joining Bill Hicke (1958-59), Pelle Lindbergh (1980-81) and Stephan Lebeau (1988-89).
In 72 games with Norfolk, Conacher has totaled 75 points, 35 goals and 40 assists, while leading the Admirals to the top record in the AHL. He currently ranks second in the league in points, goals and power-play tallies.
In March, Conacher became the second Griff to sign an NHL contract, inking a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Burlington, Ontario native was also named the league's Rookie of the Year, a second-team AHL All-Star and to the AHL All-Rookie Team.
Conacher set or matched 12 career, single-season and single-game records during his career at Canisius. The 2009-10 Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year owns the program's standards of 147 points, 62 goals and 12 game-winning tallies. He also set the school's records with 53 points and 33 assists during his junior campaign, while breaking the goals mark with 23 in his senior year.
Conacher and the Admirals now turn their attention toward the playoffs. Norfolk, who has won its last 25 games, has clinched the top seed for the Calder Cup Playoffs, which are set to begin the week of April 16.