The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced Friday the 2015 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Jack Eichel from Boston University. The announcement came during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in a live ceremony held at historic Matthews Arena in Boston.
Eichel, becomes only the second freshman in the award’s 35-year history to win the Hobey. Paul Kariya of the University of Maine accomplished the feat in 1993. The 18-year-old rookie sensation has had a fantastic season and leads the nation in points (70), assists (44), power-play points (23) and plus-minus (plus-51).
Saving his best for last, Eichel has scored eight goals and seven assists in seven playoff games, while registering a plus-15. In Thursday night’s national semifinal 5-3 victory against North Dakota at TD Garden in Boston, Eichel produced two goals and an assist. The Terriers will now meet the Hockey East rival Providence Friars for the national championship Saturday night.
Hobey Baker was the legendary Princeton (1914) hockey player known as America’s greatest amateur athlete one hundred years ago. He redefined how the game was played with his coast-to-coast dashes in an era when hockey was contested with seven players and no forward passes.
Matthews Arena, built in 1910, is the last remaining rink where Hobey Baker played. Baker, a member of the U.S. Army’s Air Corp, died testing a repaired aircraft at the end of World War I after he had completed his military service. The Hobey Baker Award criteria includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements. Eichel was selected from a group of 10 finalists by a 27-member selection committee and online fan balloting.
As the first freshman Hobey top 10 candidate in 12 years, Eichel has already claimed multiple awards having been named the Hockey East Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, conference scoring champion, First Team Hockey East, a member of the All-Rookie Team and was named Most Valuable Player at the Hockey East playoff tournament.
Earlier Friday, Eichel was named the National Rookie of the Year by the Hockey Commissioners Association and a First Team All-American by the Hockey Coaches Association.
A fluid, effortless skater, Eichel has made everyone around him successful with his uncanny hockey sense, regularly setting up teammates. Eichel began the school year as a 17-year-old, recorded two goals and two assists in his first college hockey game and continued by recording points in 10 consecutive games (7 goals, 12 assists) to open his college career.
He heads into the national championship game having collected points in 14 of his past 15 games (11 goals, 19 assists). In 39 games this season, Eichel has 26 goals and 44 assists for 70 points.
Eichel is projected by many hockey experts to be a top two NHL draft selection this June. Additionally, he captained the U.S. team in the most recent World Junior tournament held in Canada.
A native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Eichel is enrolled in the College of General Studies. He spends off-ice time mentoring an 11-year old brain cancer patient and helps out with the Terriers team partnership with Autism Speaks.