Hobey Baker “Hat Trick” finalists announced


The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation has announced the trio of forwards that will vie for this year’s trophy: Maine’s Spencer Abbott, Minnesota-Duluth’s Jack Connolly and Colgate’s Austin Smith.

The three were selected from an original list of 10 candidates released earlier this season.

Abbott, the reigning Hockey East Player of the year, was the Black Bears assistant captain and led the nation in scoring and assists. He recently signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and will join the AHL’s Marlies for the remainder of this season.

Connolly, a Hobey top ten finalist last year, captained the Bulldogs this season while also winning the WCHA scoring title and Player of the Year award. He also holds the unique distinction of never missing a collegiate game, participating in 164 consecutive contests for Minnesota-Duluth.

Smith is the most celebrated sniper of the group. He led the country in goals (36) and shorthanded tallies (six) en route to winning the ECAC scoring title. He was named conference Player of the Year and reached the 30-goal plateau fasted than any collegiate player in 12 years. Dallas’ fifth-round pick at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Smith recently signed an entry-level deal with the Stars and reported to AHL Texas on Tuesday.

(Image courtesy Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation)

Did You Know? It’s Hobey Baker night in Buffalo

Ryan Miller

The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

Tonight in Buffalo, three former Hobey Baker Award winners will play in the same game — Sabres netminder Ryan Miller (who won in 2001), Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold (2002) and Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy (2009).

While this might not seem like such a momentous occasion, do keep in mind there are just nine Hobey Baker winners currently in the NHL: Miller, Leopold, Gilroy, Brendan Morrison, Mike Mottau, Matt Carle, Kevin Porter, Blake Geoffrion and Andy Miele.

Of the three playing tonight, it’s interesting to note how many future NHLers they suited up with in college. All three played for prominent programs — Miller was at Michigan State, Leopold at Minnesota and Gilroy at Boston University — so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, it’s cool to look back.

Miller’s teammates at Michigan State included Duncan Keith, Shawn Horcoff, John-Michael Liles, Adam Hall, Jim Slater and Mike Weaver.

Leopold’s teammates at Minnesota included Keith Ballard, Paul Martin, John Pohl and Jeff Taffe.

Gilroy’s teammates at BU included Brandon Yip, Colin Wilson and Kevin Shattenkirk.

The Hobey Baker is definitely a curious award. For every winner that goes on to NHL success — Neal Broten, Paul Kariya, Chris Drury — there are those that fail to register even the slightest blip on the NHL radar, guys like Brian Bonin, Chris Marinucci and, most recently Marty Sertich.

Which makes it all the more curious when three former winners manage to appear in the same game.