Hobey Baker Award
Senior forward Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State University claimed college hockey’s version of the Heisman Tropy Friday night, becoming the 33rd recipient of the Hobey Baker Award. Twenty-five of the award’s 33 winners have been forwards. Recipients of the award must show outstanding skills, character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements. LeBlanc was also WCHA’s student-athlete of the year
Leblanc, a native of Hermantown, Minnesota, rebounded from a season lost to injury, a compound fracture in his left leg, and helped lead St. Cloud State University to their first ever Frozen Four. He is also SCSU’s first Hobey Baker winner.
“It’s been a season of firsts for St. Cloud State,” LeBlanc said.
Despite winning college hockey’s top individual award, St. Cloud’s semi-final loss to Quinnipiac still stings.
“I’d still trade this trophy in tomorrow to play for the National Championship,” he said. “No disrespect to Hobey.”
Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old Math Education major led the nation in assists with 37 and ranked seventh in points with 50.
Last year’s Hobey Baker winner, Jack Connolly of the University of Minnesota-Deluth, grew up only blocks away from this year’s winner.
“Something in the water up there, I guess,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc, who insisted all along that he wouldn’t win the award, was fighting nerves during his post-win press conference.
“My stomach is still in knots,” he said. “I don’t know how Johnny (Gaudreau) sat there, unflappable…ice water in his veins, that’s for sure.”
While past Hobey Baker winners and current NHL players like Ryan Miller, Matt Carle and former Penguin Jordan Leopold went on to be successful on the ice, LeBlanc has a variety of aspirations and options for his future.
“When my hockey career is done I can’t wait to go back and teach,” he said, citing how much he enjoyed interacting with high school students during his time as a student teacher.
LeBlanc edged Boston College sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau and Senior goaltender Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac University.
Calgary Flames prospect Gaudreau, 19, of Carneys Point, New Jersey, had back to back 21 goal seasons in his first two years with BC, recording 95 points to start his college career. This season the 5’7” forward notched 21 goals and 30 assists in 35 games. Gaudreau’s 1.46 points per game average is the best in the country.
Hartzell, who will compete for a National Championship Saturday night, posted a 30-6-5 record in his final season with the Bobcats, posting a .934 save percentage and 1.53 goals against average.
A 23-person selection committee votes on the 10 Hobey Baker finalists on a ballot distributed after the NCAA regional’s.
Hockey Humanitarian Award
J. Tucker Mullin, a senior forward from St. Anselm College, received the BNY Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award for being “college hockey’s finest citizen.” Among other contributions, Mullin, a team co-captain and three-time Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of “The Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis Foundation.” Over four years with St. Anselm, Mullin has 100 points in 88 games.
“I have used hockey as the vehicle to support worthy causes and highly value the opportunity to represent something that is bigger than myself,” he said. “Most importantly, I have been blessed to see the differences we have been able to make: this is what really matters.”
“It’s a beautiful city. Everything Jesse (Root) told us about it, it’s gorgeous, very picturesque. Coming out of that tunnel is pretty nice.” – Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm on his impressions of Pittsburgh.
“We’re going to stick to what we do. We’re going to play Yale hockey. It’s what’s gotten us here, and we’re going to keep doing that.” – Yale forward Carson Cooper on if the game change will change since they are facing regional rival Quinnipiac
“I think during an NCAA Tournament game, first of all, what happened in the regular season in the playoffs doesn’t really matter at this point. It’s just a one and done. It’s a whole new time. I also believe that if we can do little things like we talked about earlier and stay focused on our task and our game plan and get a lot of pucks low and get to rebounds and get some traffic in front of the goalie, we’ll be successful.” – Yale forward Antoine Laganiere on what needs to change versus Quinnipiac, who went 3-0 against Yale this year.
“I think the fact that it’s a rivalry game is irrelevant. Right now both teams are competing for a National Championship, and that’s kind of what comes first.” – Quinnipiac forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas on Yale-Quinnipiac final.