Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Drew LeBlanc Wins the Hobey Baker Award

On Friday night Drew LeBlanc, captain of the St. Cloud State Huskies, won college hockey's Heisman award: The Hobey Baker. LeBlanc is a native of Hermantown, Minnesota where he won a Minnesota High School state championship as a senior in 2007 over Duluth Marshall. A player on that Duluth Marshall team, Jack Connolly, won the Hobey Baker Award last season for Minnesota-Duluth, thus keeping the award in Minnesota for another year. LeBlanc played one season with the Chicago Steel of
LeBlanc with the Hobey Baker Award surrounded by
his teammates.
the USHL before heading to St. Cloud. The fifth-year senior fractured his leg last season in his would be senior season and took a medical redshirt in order to return this season. He led the nation with 37 assists in 12'-13' and chipped in 13 goals for 50 points in 42 games. Many probably thought out of the Hobey Hat-Trick (top three candidates) that LeBlanc was probably least likely to win. Eric Hartzell, goaltender for Quinnipiac led his team to their first Frozen Four and National Championship game with outstanding numbers. He held a record of 30-7-5 with a .933 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average while leading the nation in minutes played. Other Hobey Hat-Trick finalist Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College recorded 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points in 35 games. Many thought because of LeBlanc's goal total of 13 opposed to Gaudreau's 21 would take him out of the race. However, LeBlanc was above and beyond in the other criteria for the award. The Husky captain was awarded WCHA-Scholar Athlete of the Year for his academic performance. He was also named First-Team All-WCHA. LeBlanc spent his days student teaching at Apollo High School in St. Cloud as he is studying to become a math teacher when his playing days are over. LeBlanc helped
Captain Drew LeBlanc scoring a goal in St. Cloud
lead the Huskies to their first ever MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA champions, which they shared with Minnesota. From there the Huskies went to Toledo, Ohio for the Midwest Regional where they won games over #1 seed Notre Dame, and #2 seeded Miami of Ohio. Although the Huskies fell short of their goal, losing to Quinnipiac in the national semifinals, LeBlanc and his teammates laid some solid ground for the program. While St. Cloud State has always fielded a team who could be thought of as decent, they now have solidified themselves as a contender. Now that his college career is over, LeBlanc, who is an NHL free agent, has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in a Blackhawk's sweater next season; maybe not on a regular basis, but he'll get there. Congrats to Drew, hope to see you in the NHL very soon.

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