— ECHL (@ECHL) December 3, 2015
Garret Sparks is piling up accolades like the Winnipeg Jets pile up goals.
But seriously, there are two very big pieces of news here, so let’s break it all down…
First, Garret Sparks has earned himself another accolade in being named the Meigray Group’s ECHL Alumnus of the Month. This, of course, after he made his NHL debut, became the first ever Leafs goaltender to earn a shutout in his first game, and was named the AHL Goaltender of the month… all within the last week.
The second very big piece of news is that the ECHL has an Alumnus of the Month award. That’s just so perfect, because the ECHL is clearly trying to promote itself as one of the top developmental leagues in the world when so few of their players actually make it to the show. And really, that’s not an ECHL issue – it has more to do with their NHL affiliates who refuse to utilize the ECHL to its full potential.
Still, bless them for creating this award. And bless them for giving it to Montreal’s Mike Condon last month and then to Sparks this month. I have a feeling that the ECHL is only going to come up with enough candidates in a year by seeking out backup goaltenders and call-ups. This might be my favourite monthly honour in hockey now, and it’s not even close.