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Wendell Young wins AHL’s Thomas Ebright Award

Thank American Hockey League president and CEO David Andrews announced Thursday that Chicago Wolves general manager Wendell Young has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Thomas Ebright Award in recognition of his career contributions to the AHL.

Young, 54, has spent the majority of his 35-year professional hockey career as a player, assistant coach and general manager in the AHL. He earned Calder Cup championships as a goaltender with the Hershey Bears in 1988 and as an assistant coach with the Wolves in 2008. Since moving into the Wolves’ general manager chair in 2009, the Halifax, Nova Scotia, native has been the architect of five division champions while partnering with five different head coaches and four different NHL franchises.

“Wendell has been a winner his entire life because he puts his heart and soul into hockey every day,” said Wolves president Mike Gordon. “Regardless of whether he has been competing in the crease, teaching behind the bench or trying to build the perfect team, Wendell always has been a great ambassador for the sport and for the AHL.”

Young, who was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, began his AHL career in 1983-84 as a goaltender for the Fredericton Express. After splitting several seasons between the AHL and the NHL, Young became the Hershey Bears’ primary goaltender during a magical 1987-88 season capped by Hershey’s undefeated romp through the Calder Cup playoffs. While leading the Bears to that title, Young earned the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s best goalie and the Jack Butterfield Trophy that goes to the postseason MVP.

After more seasons split between the AHL and NHL — which included a pair of Stanley Cup championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins — Young moved to the fledging Chicago Wolves in 1994. During his seven seasons as a Wolves goaltender, Young helped the Wolves win a pair of Turner Cup titles — making him the only player in hockey history to win the Memorial Cup (Kitchener 1982), the AHL’s Calder Cup (1988), the NHL’s Stanley Cup (1991, 1992) and the IHL’s Turner Cup (1998, 2000).

Before hanging up his mask and pads in 2001, Young displayed one of the many ways he has been devoted to helping others when he kissed a pig at center ice before a Wolves game to celebrate raising more than $10,000 for the American Diabetes Association.

Upon his retirement, Young served as a Wolves assistant coach and executive director before succeeding Kevin Cheveldayoff as Wolves general manager in 2009. Chicago has won five division titles in nine years under Young’s leadership, which includes being the only AHL team to win a division each of the last two seasons.

The Thomas Ebright Award honors Tom Ebright, the former owner and governor of the Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates who passed away in 1997. Young and others received their excellence awards Thursday night at a gala reception during the Board of Governors’ annual meeting at Hilton Head Island, S.C.