CEDAR RAPIDS — Who’s he voting for?
“Ha, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about that one,” laughed Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson.
He’s got a lot of guys from which to choose. Nominees for the Hobey Baker Award were released this week, and a whopping 10 of the 75 played junior hockey for the RoughRiders.
That’s more than any other team in the United States Hockey League. The Hobey Baker, by the way, is the Heisman Trophy of college hockey.
“We’re very, very proud of those guys,” Carlson said. “We talked about that to our team here yesterday, explained a couple of things we thought were important.”
Carlson was asked to expound on that.
“Well, one of the things we explained was with these nine nominees, with any of our alumni that have played in the NHL, very, very rarely have we sat here as coaches over the years and looked at a player come in and play for our team and said ‘That guy is going to be a sure-fire Hobey Baker nominee or a sure-fire NHLer,’” Carlson said. “That is just very, very rare. Those nine players are in the spot they are in because they stuck with it. They have been everyday guys, they’ve gotten after it consistently on a daily basis. They have battled adversity and put in the extra time and sacrifice. They have stuck with it day by day and year by year.”
The nine Hobey Baker RoughRiders are forwards Ross Colton, Jacob Hayhurst, Dylan McLaughlin, Mitch Maloney, Hugh McGing, Erik Foley and Adam Gaudette, and defensemen Matt O’Donnell, Mitch Reinke and Scott Perunovich. Colton is a sophomore at the University of Vermont, Hayhurst a sophomore at RPI, McLaughlin a junior at Canisius, Maloney a senior at Ferris State, Foley a junior at Providence, Gaudette a junior at Northeastern, McGing a sophomore at Western Michigan, O’Donnell a sophomore at Vermont, Reinke a sophomore at Michigan Tech and Perunovich a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth.
Gaudette (Vancouver Canucks), Foley (Winnipeg Jets) and Colton (Tampa Bay Lightning are National Hockey League draft picks.
USHL graduates account for 49 of the 74 nominees.
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“The first thing I thought when I saw the list was, as far as the USHL goes, for us to have 49 out of the 74 nominees is absolutely tremendous,” Carlson said. “That is a huge testament to our players, our coaches, our owners, everyone involved.”
Fans can cast their online vote through March 4 at http://www.voteforhobey.com. Those will count for one percent of the total ballot.
The top 10 finalists for the award will be named March 14, with fans able to vote for one of them through March 25. The announcement of the winner is April 6.
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