ROCKFORD, Ill. – The American Hockey League announced today that, in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic, athletic trainers from all 31 member clubs have been selected as the winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award for 2020-21 including IceHogs Head Athletic Trainer D.J. Jones and Assistant Athletic Trainer John Walter.
Presented annually since 1998, this award traditionally acknowledges a player as the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to his local community; in 2020-21, the league is pleased to recognize the athletic training staffs from all 31 organizations.
“I cannot speak highly enough about the job they did this year,” said Chicago Blackhawks Vice President of Hockey Operations/Team Affiliates Mark Bernard. “They kept everyone safe including our families, our players, our staff and everyone working inside BMO Harris Bank Center. They played a huge part in implementing the protocols for the league and overseeing them during the season, allowing us to not miss any games or practices due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the IceHogs. We had zero cases. It was a very hard season and a hard job for them, but they did an amazing job.”
Jones recently completed his 15th season with the IceHogs and 14th with the Chicago Blackhawks after joining the club for the 2006-2007 season and was part of the Colonial Cup Championship during the team’s final season in the United Hockey League. He is a member of the NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) NYSATA & IATA (New York & Illinois State Associations) ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), ASEP (American Society of Exercise Physiologists), and PHATS (Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society). He currently sits on the American Hockey League PHATS Executive Committee serving as secretary.
Walter completed his second season with the IceHogs in 2020-21 and has been serving as an athletic trainer in the Rockford community for over 26 years including time with the Rockford Lightning basketball club (1999-2002) and Boylan High School (1993-2019). He is also a member of NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) and PHATS (Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society).
This year’s winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award are:
Chad Drown, Bakersfield Condors
Craig Belfer, Belleville Senators
Jon Williams, Binghamton Devils
Josh Sabitsky, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Alex Ambrose, Charlotte Checkers
Kevin Kacer, Chicago Wolves
Tom Bourdon, Cleveland Monsters
Brent Woodside, Colorado Eagles
Josh Chapman, Grand Rapids Griffins
Brian Fairbrother, Hartford Wolf Pack
Todd Richardson, Henderson Silver Knights
Brian Riedel, Hershey Bears
Masayasu Takaiwa and Cole Harding, Iowa Wild
Glen Kinney, Laval Rocket
Brian Grogesky, Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Zach Salmonson, Manitoba Moose
Doug Agnew, Milwaukee Admirals
Jeff Andrews, Ontario Reign
Dustin Stuck, Providence Bruins
Michael Dhesse, Rochester Americans
D.J. Jones and John Walter, Rockford IceHogs
Ryan Ledwon, San Diego Gulls
Will Leonard, San Jose Barracuda
Koryd Lavimoniere, Springfield Thunderbirds
Bryan Erspamer, Stockton Heat
Brad Chavis, Syracuse Crunch
Mike DeGaetano, Texas Stars
Jordan Aube, Toronto Marlies
Bill Nervig, Tucson Roadrunners
Roman Kaszczij, Utica Comets
Seamus McKelvey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupre, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupre played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and was an AHL All-Star in 1995.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.