Much of the Colorado Avalanche’s struggles over the past several seasons has been attributed to a lack of impact players on defense. It might come as no surprise, then, that their ECHL affiliate in Windsor, the Colorado Eagles, enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Mountain Division (and the No. 3 team in the Western Conference) thanks in part to their strong blueline. The league recognized Colorado’s outstanding defensive unit on Wednesday, when it named Matt Register the CCM Hockey ECHL Defenseman of the Year.
Register, a 27-year-old from Calgary, led ECHL defensemen with 64 points, seven game-winning goals and 218 shots on goal while he was second with 18 goals, tied for second with 46 assists and second with 29 power-play points, according to the team.
It was the second time Register has claimed the award. He won it in 2013-14 while playing for the Ontario Reign. He joins four-time winner Chris Valicevic and three-time winner Tom Nemeth as the only players to win the Defenseman of the Year award multiple times. He also joins Eagles head coach Aaron Schneekloth as the second Eagles defenseman to capture the honor.
Colorado opens first-round play in the Kelly Cup Playoffs when they host the Idaho Steelheads. The 2-3-2 format series starts in Windsor on Friday and Saturday before shifting to Idaho next Wednesday. The Eagles have qualified for the playoffs in every year of the franchise’s existence, the first eight years in the CHL and for the past six in the ECHL.
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