The Ontario Reign announced today that forward Brett Sutter will return to the club for another season on an AHL contract. The 32-year-old Sutter is the franchise’s all-time leader with 218 regular-season games played and ranks inside the Reign’s all-time Top-5 in goals (59, 2nd), assists (63, 4th) and points (122, 2nd).
Sutter reached several milestones during the 2018-19 Reign season. The Viking, Alberta native reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his professional career, finishing the season with 21 tallies. Sutter was also named as the winner of the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Award, which is awarded each season to the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey. Sutter also appeared in his 800th career AHL regular-season game on March 12 in Colorado, becoming just the 39th player in league history to accomplish the feat.
After last season, Sutter noted that he wanted to return to Ontario and an agreement between he and the Reign was reached relatively quickly, though things took longer to become officially official. Ontario Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers is likely to be a happy man – The bench boss said multiple times down the stretch that he wished to have Sutter back on his roster for the 19-20 season.
Stothers has praised Sutter’s leadership and impact on the younger Ontario players, with the veteran forward serving as a natural extension between the coaches office and the locker room. Sutter’s presence in the room is invaluable and his season on the ice was one of the best, statistically, of his professional career. The Reign’s #7 played in a Top-6 role, and on both special teams units, for the majority of the season. In a season that featured several lows for the Reign, Sutter’s contributions shined brightly.
Brett Sutter on winning the Fred T. Hunt Award
It’s a huge honor. It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as some of those names. You play a long time and, you know, it’s nice to know that there’s some respect there. You work hard and be good for your teammates and I think it also makes you appreciate the road you’ve taken, where you’ve been and some of the people you’ve played with, whether it be staff, players and that sort of thing. I really appreciate everything.
On reaching 800 regular-season AHL games played
Lots of memories, lots of good teammates and friends along the way, lots of good cities and organizations. Just thanks to my wife and my kids for supporting me, and allowing me to do this for a living, and obviously my parents for being there for me along the way. Obviously, when you hit a milestone game you think of all your family. I think just another step and hopefully 800 more to go.
On reaching the 20-goal platform for the first time in his professional career
I was happy. I wish I could trade 10 of those goals in for 10 more wins and we’d be in a different situation, but it’s more of a team accomplishment, some great teammates helped me get there. I was just the one fortunate enough to get the 20 goals, but hopefully lots more in the future.