Matt Keith in action at the April 5 tilt against Hamilton Bulldogs.

Keith named AHL Heat ‘Man of Year’

Matt Keith of Aldergrove has been recognized by the Abbotsford Heat as their “Man of the Year” for his charitable contributions to the community.

Following the Heat’s final season home game against the Hamilton Bulldogs, April 5, the team awards were presented, and Keith was named their “community” trophy winner.

Earlier Keith had also been named the Heat’s individual team winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award, selected by their respective clubs for their outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations during the 2010-11 season.

From this list of finalists, representatives from IOA/American Specialty and the AHL chose centre Cody Bass of the Binghamton Senators as the winner of the 2010-11 Yanick Dupré Memorial Award.

A fourth-year member of the Senators organization, Bass established WINGS, which stands for When I Need Guidance and Support. The foundation was created to increase awareness of teen suicide and help raise money to further programs in both Binghamton and Ottawa that work to prevent suicide in teens and young adults.

A 24-year-old native of Owen Sound, Ont., Bass was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2005 and has played 170 games with Binghamton and 33 more with Ottawa in his four professional seasons.

The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupré, who died in 1997 at the age of 24, following a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupré, an AHL All-Star in 1995, played four seasons with the Hershey Bears, registering 169 points in 207 AHL games. He also skated in 35 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Keith was drafted 59th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. He appeared in his first NHL game on Feb. 24, 2004 against the Philadelphia Flyers. On March 1 of that same year against the Nashville Predators, he scored his first goal.

On December 29, 2006, he was traded along with Sebastien Caron and Chris Durno to the Ducks in exchange for Pierre Parenteau and Bruno St. Jacques.

On January 9, 2008, he was traded to the Islanders from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Darryl Bootland. Keith appeared in three games with the Islanders upon the completion of the 2007–08 season. On July 25, 2008 Keith signed with German team, ERC Ingolstadt of the DEL.

For the 2009-10 season Keith returned to North America signing with, the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Scoring 21 goals in 69 games for the IceHogs, Keith was then signed to a one-year contract with fellow AHL team, the Abbotsford Heat, affiliate of the Calgary Flames on September 28, 2010.

Keith has played 77 games with the Heat and the team is hoping to win the final three games this weekend for a spot in the playoffs.

Keith has racked up the most goals and points for the Heat this year. He has 35 points, with 20 goals and 15 assists.