On Monday, the Newfoundland Growlers learned Joseph Duszak was being returned to the team and that he will be shared with the rest of the ECHL later this month.
Duszak, the standout rookie defenceman and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, has been named as the Growlers’ representative on the Eastern Conference team for the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota to be held in Wichita, Kan., on Jan. 22.
Twenty-five players — one from each of the league's teams other than the host Wichita Thunder — were named as all-stars. The eastern and Conference teams will join two others made up of Wichita players to compete in a four-team three-on-three tournament besides taking part in a skills competition.
Two former Growlers who helped Newfoundland to the 2019 ECHL championship are also all-stars. JJ Piccinich will represent the Tulsa Oilers, while fellow forward Josh Kestner is the choice from the Toledo Walleye.
The 22-year-old Duszak has played in 26 games with the Growlers this season, recording 27 points (8G, 19A). And even though he has missed eight of Newfoundland’s games while on recall to the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies, the native of Franklin Square, N.Y., is still the third-leading scorer among all ECHL rearguards.
Before signing an entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs, Duszak played collegiately with the Mercyhurst Lakers of the NCAA and as a senior, was also nominated for the Hobey Baker Award as the top Division 1 university player.
The rosters for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars were determined in a vote of coaches, team captains, media relations directors, broadcasters and members of the media.
Duszak was reassigned to Newfoundland Monday at the same time as Growlers leading scorer Giorgio Estephan and rookie forward Colt Conrad were called up to the Marlies.
North Division-leading Newfoundland (24-10-0) plays three road games in three days this upcoming weekend, beginning with a Friday contest against the Maine Mariners.