The Hobey Baker Award is going home for the first time.
The host city for this year’s Frozen Four, Philadelphia, is also the birthplace of the award's namesake. The award, which is given yearly to the nation’s best NCAA Division I hockey player, is typically awarded at the site of the Frozen Four on the day between the semifinal and national championship games.
Hobey Baker is considered the first American ice hockey star and played collegiately at Princeton. Baker won two national titles while playing for the Tigers before graduating in 1914. After graduation, Baker eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Service where he served in World War I. He died as a 26-year-old in 1918 after crashing in a plane he was test-piloting hours before he was to return to America from his service in France.
Baker was one of the first nine inductees, and only American, in the inaugural Hockey Hall of Fame class in 1945. In addition, he was also one of the initial inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.
“We’re extremely pleased to be in Philadelphia for this year’s Hobey Baker Award presentation especially because of the historical significance,” said Dan Hoene, the 2014 Hobey Baker Committee Chair. “Hobey was born and raised in Philadelphia; he’s buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery just outside Philly in Bala Cynwyd; and it’s the centennial anniversary of his graduation from Princeton University in 1914. While at the Frozen Four, we want to emphasize the history of Hobey Baker and plan on a special ceremony at Hobey’s gravesite, a focus on his legend during our televised announcement and certainly, we want to continue the theme of our Hobey brand, 'character builds excellence' -- a terrific trait our 10 finalists represent every year.”
The process for this year’s winner has already started with fan voting available at www.HobeyBaker.com until March 9. The fan vote counts as a part of the process which will lead to an announcement of the top-10 list of finalists on March 20. The list will be narrowed further with the naming of the Hobey Hat Trick -- the three finalists who will be present at the winner’s announcement -- on April 2. The winner will be announced on April 11 with the exact time and location of this year’s presentation still being finalized.
Previous winners of the Hobey Baker Award include players who have gone on to standout NHL careers, including Minnesota’s Neal Broten, Michigan’s Brendan Morrison, Maine’s Paul Kariya, Michigan State’s Ryan Miller, Boston University’s Chris Drury and Denver’s Matt Carle. Last year’s winner, Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State, is currently playing in the Chicago Blackhawks' organization.
Crossing the blue line
Notre Dame plays Lake Superior State in a weekend series as Fighting Irish boss Jeff Jackson will coach against his former team. Jackson goes into the series with the Lakers with a record of 197-118-34 (.613) with the Irish. In his six seasons (1990-96) at Lake Superior, he was 182-52-25 (.751), including winning the 1994 NCAA title. While at Notre Dame, Jackson has faced the Lakers 22 times and owns a record of 16-3-3 (.795) in those contests.
St. Cloud State sophomore Jonny Brodzinski, who led all Division I rookies in 2012-13 with 22 goals, is getting back into stride this winter. Brodzinski had a slow start in 2013-14 with only one goal in his first eight games. Since that time, Brodzinski has scored 10 goals in the Huskies' past 10 games. On the season, Brodzinski leads the Huskies with 11 goals and 19 points. Of note, he is the older brother of Minnesota rookie Michael Brodzinski. The two brothers are the sons of two-time SCSU All-American Mike Brodzinski, who was a team leader on the 1986-87 St. Cloud State team coached by Herb Brooks.
• There are five players chasing the 100-point career mark for scoring who could hit it this weekend. Connecticut’s Brent Harris has 98 points on 49 goals and 49 assists, while Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State has 98 points on 40 goals and 58 assists. Jordan Samuels-Thomas of Quinnipiac has 96 points on 47 goals and 49 assists, while Massachusetts’ Michael Pereira has 96 points on 48 goals and 48 assists and Massachusetts-Lowell’s Joseph Pendenza has 96 points on 43 goals and 53 assists.
Minding the net
Ferris State has a commanding lead in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with 26 points in only 14 games as it is unbeaten in conference play at 12-0-2. Bowling Green is in second place with 21 points but has played four more games than the Bulldogs. … After starting the season 3-4, Ohio State has rebounded nicely with a 8-2-1 record in its past 11 games. The Buckeyes has not been shut out this season and have scored less than two goals only twice all year. … Northeastern is unbeaten in 10 of its past 11 games (7-1-3), its best stretch since the 2007-08 season (8-1-2). Since Nov. 22, the Huskies are one of six teams in the country to have lost just one game. … Alaska-Anchorage is now 9-2-1 at home -- the Seawolves’ best home record after 12 games since joining Div. I and the best since 1983-84 when UAA went 12-0-0 at home to start the season. … Minnesota State-Mankato’s Matt Leitner will play in his 100th career game Friday night. … Providence heads to Colorado College looking to break its season-long four-game winless string. The Friars have not lost in non-conference action on the road. … Rochester Institute plays Army this weekend in Atlantic Hockey action as the Tigers are unbeaten in the past 13 (10-0-3) matchups between the two schools. … Rochester Institute is the only team in Division I to neither score nor allow a shorthanded goal this season. … Colgate is 2-0-1 in its past three games, all of which were against ranked opponents. … Boston College is 6-0-1 in its past seven games and averaged 4.7 goals per game in that stretch. … Wisconsin is 9-1 in its past 10 games, all of which were played in the Kohl Center on campus.