ROCKFORD – The Rockford IceHogs announced Wednesday the recipients of the organization’s annual tam awards for the 2019-20 season.
Most Valuable Player & Rookie of the Year: Brandon Hagel
After sample of professional action at the end of the 2018-19 season (eight games, one assist) with the IceHogs, rookie Brandon Hagel became a scoring force in the Forest City during the 2019-20 campaign, earning him the team’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards.
This is the first time in team history one player has received both awards in a single season. In 31 games with the IceHogs last year, the Morinville, Alberta, native netted 19 goals and 12 assists for 31 points, finishing third in team scoring and tied for 14th among AHL rookies. With his impressive speed and skill, Hagel gained the attention of the Blackhawks and made his NHL debut on Mar. 11, 2020 vs. San Jose.
Defenseman of the Year: Lucas Carlsson
For the second-straight season, Carlsson earns the Defenseman of the Year Award after leading all team blueliners with 26 points (five goals, 21 assist) through 48 games. The Gavle, Sweden, product went on an impressive seven-game point streak (one goal, eight assists) from Feb. 4 to Feb. 18, the second longest of the season behind Dylan Sikura’s 11-game point streak, earning him a call up to the Blackhawks. In six games with the NHL club, Carlsson earned one assist and celebrated his NHL debut on Feb. 23 at Dallas and his first NHL point on March 3 vs. Anaheim.
Unsung Hero: Matt Tomkins
Goaltender Matt Tomkins’ work ethic and dedication to development earns him the team’s Unsung Hero Award and was the IceHogs’ nomination for the American Hockey League’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for the player that best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. His determination rewarded him from playing under an AHL contract over the past three seasons to earning a two-year NHL contract from the Blackhawks on Jan. 23, the organization that originally drafted him in 2012. In 13 appearances with the IceHogs last season, the Sherwood Park, Alberta, native went 5-7-1 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .896 save percentage including an impressive 3-0-1 record, 1.93 goals-against average and .927 save percentage against the IceHogs’ in-state rival, the Chicago Wolves.
Heavy Hitter Award: Dennis Gilbert
In just his second professional season, defenseman Dennis Gilbert elevated his physical game to earn the IceHogs’ Heavy Hitter Award. The Buffalo, New York, resident split last season between the IceHogs and Blackhawks, appearing in 30 games with the AHL club and adding seven points (one goal, six assists). In 21 NHL contests, he earned three points (one goal, two assists) including his first NHL goal on Dec. 27 against the New York Islanders. At the time of the NHL season pause, Gilbert was tied for ninth on the Blackhawks with 74 hits and averaged 3.52 hits per game, the highest on the team.
Most Improved Player: MacKenzie Entwistle
In his first professional season, MacKenzie Entwistle finished second among IceHogs rookies and fourth in team scoring with 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 56 games, earning him the Most Improved Player Award. After picking up just one assists in his first five games, Entwistle snagged four points over his next four games (two goals, two assists) including his first professional goal on Oct. 30 vs. San Antonio. From Nov. 30 to Dec. 21, the Georgetown, Ontario, native added two goals and four assists for six points over seven games and also grabbed four points in four contests (two goals, two assists) from Jan. 25 to Feb. 4.
Man of the Year: Collin Delia
In his third season with the IceHogs, goaltender Collin Delia fully embraced his leadership role within the organization and community, earning him his second team selection as the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year (2017-18 season). Over the course of the 2019-20 campaign, the Rancho Cucamonga, California, native helped raise over $3,700 for The Autism Program of Easterseals and the Fatherhood Encouragement Project while also donating his time and influence to see these community initiatives succeed in their mission. On the ice, Delia led the IceHogs goaltending core with a 16-13-1 record over 32 appearances with a 2.66 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.