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TOLEDO'S J.C. SAWYER NAMED ECHL DEFENSEMAN OF THE YEAR

04/07/2010 1:24 PM - PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Wednesday announced that J.C. Sawyer of the Toledo Walleye is the ECHL Defenseman of the Year for 2009-10 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches.

The ECHL Defenseman of the Year award is presented annually to the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position.

Sawyer, who was named First Team All-ECHL on Thursday, led all defensemen with 21 goals, 59 points and seven game-winning goals while ranking second with 38 assists. The 23-year-old finished tied for fourth among defensemen with 18 power-play assists and was fifth with 24 power-play points.

The Saint John, New Brunswick native was chosen as a starter for the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game and served as captain for the American Conference.  He also appeared in the 2008 All-Star Game while with Pensacola.  Sawyer, who is in his final season of a three-year, entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, has suited up for Rockford of the American Hockey League in four games this season where he has one assist.

"I am extremely honored and excited to have won this award," Sawyer said.  "It means so much to me to be thought of as an elite defenseman.  This league is loaded with terrific defensemen and to be thought of as the best is humbling.  This award also says a lot about what we have done in Toledo, a first-year team that has been successful.  A lot of thanks go to my teammates and the great fan support here in Toledo."

Eric Regan of the Bakersfield Condors and Mitch Ganzak of the Wheeling Nailers were the runners up for the award.