Minor League Sports

Former Cedar Rapids RoughRider Scott Perunovich wins Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player

3rd former Rider to win it, 2nd in 3 years

Cedar Rapids defender Scott Perunovich (14) passes the puck in the first period at a USHL hockey game between the Cedar
Cedar Rapids defender Scott Perunovich (14) passes the puck in the first period at a USHL hockey game between the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Madison Capitols at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 3, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — For the second time in three years, college hockey’s top player is a graduate of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

Junior defenseman Scott Perunovich of Minnesota-Duluth was announced as the 2020 winner of the Hobey Baker Award during an online ceremony Saturday night on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Perunovich is the sixth Minnesota-Duluth player to win the award. He beat out fellow finalists Jordan Kawaguchi of North Dakota (a junior forward) and Jeremy Swayman of Maine (a junior goaltender).

“It’s extremely special,” Perunovich told reporters at an online press conference from his family’s home in Hibbing, Minn. “My family, my grandparents are around me right now. To be able to share this with everyone means the world to me. Just to be able to see the joy in their faces when (ESPN) announced it was pretty special.

“I don’t even know if it’s set in yet, really. I’ve had a lot of ex-UMD players who are former Hobey winners texting me. Just to have that support behind me at UMD is just amazing. I’m so grateful for it.”

Perunovich, 21, played for the RoughRiders in the 2016-17 season. He had six goals and 15 assists in 56 games, with a plus-minus rating of minus-37 for a team that was not very good.

He won two national championships at Duluth, with the Bulldogs one of the favorites this season it ended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perunovich was a second-round draft pick of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues in 2018 and recently signed a professional contract with the club.

Perunovich is the third former RoughRider to win the Hobey Baker.

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Forward Adam Gaudette won the 2018 award with Northeastern University. Gaudette is now with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

Forward Andy Miele was given the 2011 honor with Miami (Ohio). Perunovich had six goals and 34 assists in 34 games this season for UMD.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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