Players Vote For Recipients of PHPA Heart, Hustle, Desire Award

Author: Darryl Dionne, PHPA Director of Communications and Business Development
Date: Jun 21, 2017

(Niagara Falls, ON) The Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016-17 PHPA Heart, Hustle, Desire Award as voted by the player Membership of the PHPA.

The PHPA Heart, Hustle, Desire Award is presented to one player from the ECHL Eastern and Western Conferences and American Hockey League Eastern and Western Conferences who are considered by their peers to be the hardest working player in their respective League’s Conference, demonstrating heart, hustle, and desire each and every night.


ECHL Eastern Conference: Patrick Gaul, South Carolina Stingrays

Patrick Gaul set new career highs in assists (26), points (37) and penalty minutes (29) in 67 games during the 2016-17 season, his fifth campaign with the Stingrays. Gaul has made a significant impact on the South Carolina community, participating in numerous local charitable initiatives, and is receiving this award for a second consecutive year.

“It’s one thing for coaches or fans to recognize your play, but what’s really special is when the guys you battle with and against recognize the effort you put in,” said Gaul.  “I have always played an honest game, working as hard as I can in both ends of the ice.  I’m often on the penalty kill blocking shots and just trying to be a bit of a pest out there, but again, truly appreciative to have been recognized by my peers.”


ECHL Western Conference: C.J. Eick, Utah Grizzlies

An undersized player listed at 5’7, the Appleton, Wisconsin native completed his first full season of professional hockey with the Utah Grizzlies.  In 64 games, Eick registered 21 points including 10 goals and 11 assists, and added another 3 points in 5 playoff games.  Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Eick played four seasons at Michigan Tech where he received numerous accolades for both athletic and academic achievement.

“I pride myself on my energy, speed, and work ethic and not necessarily what it says on the score sheet,” said Eick.  “I can kill penalties and wreak some havoc with my speed, and it’s nice to know I’m being recognized for those efforts.  As an assistant captain this year, I was trying to be the best leader I could be and to lead by example.  I’m glad the hard work I put in every day is getting recognized by my teammates and the rest of the league.”


AHL Eastern Conference: Carter Bancks, Utica Comets

In 69 games with the Utica Comets, his sixth full season in the AHL, Carter Bancks recorded 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points.  The native of Marysville, British Columbia is involved with numerous charities and community initiatives, and is receiving this award for the second consecutive season.  

“My whole life I’ve just tried to play hard and honestly.  I’ve always been willing to sacrifice the body and do whatever it takes each night to win,” said Bancks.  “I have so much respect for so many guys in this league and the hard work they put in every night.  This is a huge honor to be recognized by those guys.”


AHL Western Conference: John McCarthy, San Jose Barracuda

As Captain of the San Jose Barracuda, John McCarthy posted 19 goals and 14 assists for 33 points in 67 games. Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2006, McCarthy won a national championship with the Boston University Terriers in 2009 and also served as captain of the Worcester Sharks during the 2012-13 season.  The native of Boston, Massachusetts has thus far played in 88 NHL regular season games throughout his pro career.

“It is a great honor to be voted by the players, I think that’s important,” said McCarthy.  “I just try to take it one day at a time.  This was my eighth year playing, although it doesn’t feel like it.  I just try to show up to the arena every day with a good attitude, always looking to get better, and doing the little things right that will keep me playing for as long as I possibly can.”


  Share   Tweet

Strategic Partners