Hobey Baker Memorial Award


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Sixty-three years after the former Princeton University superstar’s World War I fighter plane crashed down into a French field near a little town named Touls, a private athletic club thousands of miles across an entire ocean away decided to commission a great trophy to be presented annually to the most outstanding college hockey player in the United States to properly honor the memory of the legendary HOBEY BAKER.

Ice hockey was not part of the Olympic program until first introduced at the 1920 Summer Games in Antwerp, Belgium. But there can be little question that the famous victory of the United States ice hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid in upstate New York helped inspire the Decathalon Athletic Club of Bloomington, Minnesota, to present the first-ever HOBEY BAKER MEMORIAL AWARD at the conclusion of the 1980/81 National Collegiate Athletic Association ice hockey campaign. The Minneapolis suburb and its since-demolished Bloomington Metropolitan Center arena had served as the home base of former University of Minnesota HERB BROOKS’ U.S. national team, which boasted a baker’s dozen players from the state of Minnesota at Lake Placid, during the five-month exhibition schedule contested in preparation for the would-be famous Olympic tournament.

The model for the bronze sculpture that comprised the actual Hobey Baker Memorial Award trophy, itself, was none other than University of Minnesota sophomore center NEAL BROTEN — a member of the unforgettable Miracle On Ice squad that shocked the all-powerful Soviet Union and secured the always highly sought after set of Olympic gold medals for ice hockey. Fittingly, the 21-year-old out of Roseau on the Iron Range upstate was also the very first college player ever to be presented with the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as well. Unlike the trophy’s namesake, however, Broten had no problem signing a professional contract and, to this day, is still the only ice hockey player in history to have earned a championship title at the NCAA college tournament, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Winter Olympic Games.

Baker would, in all likelihood, be very proud to be represented so well.

HOBEY BAKER MEMORIAL AWARD winners
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1981 … Neal BROTEN ………….. Minnesota Univ …………….. USA
1982 … George MCPHEE ……… Bowling Green State Univ … CAN
1983 … Mark FUSCO …………… Harvard Univ ……………….. USA
1984 … Tom KURVERS ………… Minnesota-Duluth Univ ……. USA
1985 … Bill WATSON …………… Minnesota-Duluth Univ ……. CAN
1986 … Scott FUSCO …………… Harvard Univ ……………….. USA
1987 … no award presented
1988 … Robb STAUBER ……….. Minnesota Univ …………….. USA
1989 … Lane MACDONALD …… Harvard Univ ……………….. USA
1990 … Kip MILLER …………….. Michigan State Univ ……….. USA
1991 … David EMMA …………… Boston College …………….. USA
1992 … Scott PELLERIN ……….. Maine Univ ………………….. CAN
1993 … Paul KARIYA …………… Maine Univ ………………….. CAN
1994 … Chris MARINUCCI ……… Minnesota-Duluth Univ ……. USA
1995 … Brian HOLZINGER …….. Bowling Green State Univ … USA
1996 … Brian BONIN ……………. Minnesota Univ …………….. USA
1997 … Brendan MORRISON ….. Michigan Univ ……………… CAN
1998 … Chris DRURY …………… Harvard Univ ……………….. USA
1999 … Jason KROG ……………. New Hampshire Univ ……… CAN
2000 … Mike MOTTAU ………….. Boston College ……………. USA
2001 … Ryan MILLER …………… Michigan State Univ ………. USA
2002 … Jordan LEOPOLD ……… Minnesota Univ ……………. USA
2003 … Peter SEJNA ……………. Colorado College …………. SVK
2004 … Junior LESSARD ……….. Minnesota-Duluth Univ …… CAN
2005 … Marty SERTICH ………… Colorado College ………….. USA
2006 … Matt CARLE …………….. Denver Univ ………………… USA
2007 … Ryan DUNCAN ………….. North Dakota Univ ………… CAN
2008 … Kevin PORTER …………. Michigan Univ ……………… USA
2009 … Matt GILROY ……………. Boston Univ ………………… USA
2010 … Blake GEOFFRION …….. Wisconsin Univ …………….. USA
2011 … Andy MIELE ……………… Miami Univ (Ohio) …………. USA
2012 … Jack CONNOLLY ……….. Minnesota-Duluth Univ ……. USA

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Drafted in the third round (# 42 overall) by the home-state Minnesota North Stars in the 1979 National Hockey League Draft, University of Minnesota center NEAL BROTEN collected his historic Hobey Baker Memorial Award trophy and then quickly went off to skate with the big boys in the NHL … Broten scored two goals in three games to close out the regular season and then appeared in all 19 playoff contests at center (1 go, 8 pts) for the North Stars as Minnesota reached the Stanley Cup Finals but fell to the defending champion New York Islanders in five games.

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