The ECHL on Monday announced that former Wisconsin forward Tyler Barnes, now of the Toledo Walleye, has been named CCM East Coast Hockey League Rookie of the Year and the recipient of the John A. Daley Memorial Trophy.
The award is presented annually to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the ECHL as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members. The trophy was named in honor of John A. Daley in 1997. Daley, who passed away in 1996, was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL, serving as general manger and minority owner of the Johnstown Chiefs from the inception of the team in 1988 until 1994.
Barnes, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team last week, led ECHL rookies in scoring with 74 points (34g-40a) in 71 games this season, which was also tied for eighth overall in the league. His 30 goals were tied for second among first-year players and he was tied for second with 40 assists. He also led all first-year players with 12 power-play goals and 19 power-play points. Under contract with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, Barnes was the ECHL Rookie of the Month for December after scoring 17 points (7g-10a) in 13 games during the month.
In a release on Wednesday, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves noted how proud he was of the way Barnes has transitioned to pro hockey.
"Tyler was a good college hockey player when he left here," Eaves said. "I'm sure he would have wanted to start in the American Hockey League with his UW line mate Mark Zengerle, but that's not the way it worked out. What's really impressive about what Tyler's done is that he didn't sulk, he didn't hang his head. He went there (Toledo) and he's been off the charts.
"When he got called up to Grand Rapids, which is the American Hockey League team for the Detroit Red Wings, he did quite well. I spoke with (executive advisor to the general manager) Chris Chelios and he said, `This kid's just a sniper.' He said he's got an honest chance to be at the next level next year. Tyler's making his way."
Barnes played the previous four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, totaling 101 points (45g-56a) in 152 games. Prior to joining the Badgers, he spent two seasons with Waterloo of the USHL.
Former Badger Ben Street was named the ECHL Rookie of the Year in 2011.
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