(PR) PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Monday that Rick Kowalsky of the Trenton Devils is the 2008-09 recipient of the John Brophy Award.
The John Brophy Award is the trophy presented annually to the ECHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success as selected in a vote of league coaches. The trophy is named for John Brophy, who won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998 and was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
Karl Taylor of the Ontario Reign finished second in the voting followed by Jared Bednar of the South Carolina Stingrays, Keith McCambridge of the Alaska Aces and Derek Laxdal of the Idaho Steelheads.
The winner of the Defenseman of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday.
Kowalsky led the Devils to a 28-11-4 record since Jan. 1 when they were 12-14-3 and in sixth place in the North Division on Jan. 1. Trenton finished second in the North Division at 40-25-7 and 87 points to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons. The 40 wins are the most since 2004-05 when Trenton won the Kelly Cup with Kowalsky as team captain and are the fourth most in team history.
In his third season behind the Devils bench, Kowalsky is 105-92-19 in the regular season and 2-3 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 37 year old returned to the capital city in 2006-07 after spending one season with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League as an assistant coach for former Trenton head coach and current Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland. The Admirals finished 43-29-4-4 and set a team record with 94 points while tying the team record for wins.
Kowalsky was named to the ECHL All-Star Game in 1995 and again in 2003 when he was captain for the North team. Selected in the 10th round (227th overall) by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1992 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Kowalsky played in 779 games in the regular season and postseason recording 711 points (293g-418a) and 1,374 penalty minutes with Cornwall, Norfolk and Portland of the AHL and Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Trenton of the ECHL from 1993-2005. He helped lead Sault Ste. Marie to back-to-back Ontario Hockey League Championships in 1991 and 1992 before captaining the Greyhounds to the Memorial Cup championship in 1993.
John Brophy Award Winners (ECHL Coach of the Year)
2008-09 Rick Kowalsky, Trenton Devils
2007-08 Chuck Weber, Cincinnati Cyclones
2006-07 Davis Payne, Alaska Aces
2005-06 Glen Gulutzan, Las Vegas Wranglers
2004-05 Nick Vitucci, Toledo Storm
2003-04 Pat Bingham, Wheeling Nailers
2002-03 Claude Noel, Toledo Storm
2001-02 Dave Farrish, Louisiana IceGators
2000-01 Troy Ward, Trenton Titans
1999-00 Bob Ferguson, Florida Everblades
1998-99 Bob Ferguson, Florida Everblades
1997-98 Chris Nilan, Chesapeake IceBreakers
1996-97 Brian McCutcheon, Columbus Chill
1995-96 Roy Sommer, Richmond Renegades
1994-95 Jim Playfair, Dayton Bombers
1993-94 Barry Smith, Knoxville Cherokees
1992-93 Kurt Kleinendorst, Raleigh IceCaps
1991-92 Doug Sauter, Winston-Salem Thunderbirds
1990-91 Don Jackson, Knoxville Cherokees
1989-90 Dave Allison, Virginia Lancers
1988-89 Ron Hansis, Erie Panthers