The award is presented annually to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the ECHL as voted by the coaches of the ECHL teams. The trophy was named in honor of John A. Daley in 1997. Daley, who passed away in 1996, was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL, serving as general manager and minority owner of the Johnstown Chiefs from the inception of the team in 1988 until 1994.
Jean-Philippe Lamoureux of the Alaska Aces finished second in the voting while Ryan Huddy of the Stockton Thunder and Jordan Morrison of the Wheeling Nailers tied for third and Matt Pope of the Bakersfield Condors finished fifth.
Ewing, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday and First Team All-ECHL on Thursday, leads league rookies with 43 goals, six shorthand goals, 91 points, 19 power-play assists and 32 power-play points while his 48 assists and six shorthand points tie him for the rookie lead and his 13 power-play goals tie him for second among rookies. His six shorthand goals are tied for the overall league lead while his 91 points are second overall and his 43 goals rank third. Ewing is tied for third with six shorthand points while his 48 assists and 13 power-play goals are tied for fifth. The 43 goals break the Wheeling rookie record of 42 goals by Steve Gibson in 1995-96 and Ewing is the first Nailers player to score 90 points since Eric Royal had 92 points in 1996-97. Ewing is under contract to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and he has four penalty minutes in three games for the Penguins.
2008-09 Bryan Ewing, Wheeling Nailers
2007-08 David Desharnais, Cincinnati Cyclones
2006-07 Colton Fretter, Gwinnett Gladiators
2005-06 Alex Leavitt, Alaska Aces
2004-05 Joe Tenute, South Carolina Stingrays
2003-04 Kevin Doell, Gwinnett Gladiators
2002-03 Jason Jaffray, Roanoke Express
2001-02 Frederic Cloutier, Louisiana IceGators
2000-01 Scott Stirling, Trenton Titans
1999-00 Jan Lasak, Hampton Roads Admirals
1998-99 Maxime Gingras, Richmond Renegades
1997-98 Sean Venedam, Toledo Storm
1996-97 Dany Bousquet, Birmingham Bulls
1995-96 Keli Corpse, Wheeling Thunderbirds
1994-95 Kevin McKinnon, Erie Panthers
1993-94 Dan Gravelle, Greensboro Monarchs
1992-93 Joe Flanagan, Birmingham Bulls
1991-92 Darren Colbourne, Dayton Bombers
1990-91 Dan Gauthier, Knoxville Cherokees
1989-90 Bill McDougall, Erie Panthers
1988-89 Tom Sasso, Johnstown Chiefs