WINDSOR, CO. – The American Hockey League announced today that forward T.J. Tynan of the Colorado Eagles has been voted the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player for the 2020-21 season. The award was voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 28 active cities.
Tynan is the fifth Eagles player to earn league MVP honors and the first since the team joined the American Hockey League in 2018. He joins Greg Pankewicz (CHL, 2005), Kevin Ulanski (CHL, 2010), Riley Nelson (CHL 2011), and Chad Costello (ECHL, 2012) as recipients of such honors.
“I’m extremely grateful to win this award, it’s a tremendous honor,” said Tynan. “This is all about my teammates. I couldn’t have gotten here without all of the hard work of them, the coaches and the staff. I love those guys and it just goes to show what an incredible coaching staff and group of players that we have with the Colorado Eagles.”
Tynan recorded 35 points in 27 contests for the Eagles in 2020-21, good for a 1.30 points-per-game average that ranked first among all AHL skaters who played at least half of their teams’ games. Tynan finished second in the league with 27 assists – his third straight top-3 finish – and recorded assists in eight straight games from Mar. 12 to Apr. 11 and nine straight from Apr. 14 to May 9, the two longest such streaks in the league this season. Tynan, who was named team captain prior to the Eagles’ home opener on Feb. 24, added one goal and two assists in two postseason games for Colorado.
“First and foremost, we are so proud of T.J. and his accomplishment,” said Eagles general manager Craig Billington. “It comes as no surprise, as he is a consummate professional and he shows it through his dedication and hard work on the ice, both in games and in practice, every single day.”
A native of Orland Park, Ill., Tynan has played 436 AHL games over seven pro seasons and has totaled 71 goals and 277 assists for 348 points, tied for the most in the league since the start of the 2014-15 season. The three-time AHL All-Star won a Calder Cup championship with Lake Erie in 2016 and reached the Finals with Chicago in 2019, and has amassed 24 points in 44 AHL playoff games. Tynan was a third-round selection by Columbus in the 2011 NHL Draft and has skated in 19 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche, posting one assist.
The AHL’s most valuable player award honors the late Les Cunningham, a member of the AHL Hall of Fame who was a five-time league All-Star and three-time Calder Cup champion with the Cleveland Barons. Previous winners of the award include Carl Liscombe (1948, ’49), Johnny Bower (1956, ’57, ’58), Fred Glover (1960, ’62, ’64), Mike Nykoluk (1967), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Doug Gibson (1975, ’77), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Tim Tookey (1987), Jody Gage (1988), John Anderson (1992), Don Biggs (1993), Derek Armstrong (2001), Jason Spezza (2005), Keith Aucoin (2010), Cory Conacher (2012), Tyler Johnson (2013), Travis Morin (2014), Chris Bourque (2016), Kenny Agostino (2017), Phil Varone (2018), Daniel Carr (2019) and Gerry Mayhew (2020).
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.