Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Announces 15 Semi-Finalists
from outstanding field of American-born Division One hockey players in New England
BC's Cam Atkinson and UNH's Paul Thompson were among nine Hockey East players recognized
BOSTON – February 14, 2011 – Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Ray Gallant announced today that 15 NCAA Division One players are semi-finalists for the fifty-ninth Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
The nation's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 by the members of the 1933 Massachusetts Rangers, the first American team ever to win the World Championship Tournament. Brown coached the Rangers to the title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, that year; the team defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the championship game.
The semifinalists include nine players from Hockey East, five from ECAC Hockey, and one from Atlantic Hockey. The slate comprises nine forwards, four goalies, and two defensemen. Boston College and Yale each have three nominees while New Hampshire and Boston University have two.
Boston College senior center Brian Gibbons (Braintree, MA); Boston University junior defenseman David Warsofsky (Marshfield, MA); New Hampshire junior defenseman Blake Kessel (Verona, WI); and Yale senior forward Broc Little (Rindge, NH) were all semifinalists for last year's award, which went to Bobby Butler of UNH.
Senior John Muse (East Falmouth, MA) of Boston College, who has already backstopped the Eagles to a pair of NCAA titles, is a first-time nominee along with junior Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) of Merrimack; junior James Mello (Rehoboth, MA) of Dartmouth; and sophomore Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, MN) of Quinnipiac. All four goaltenders have been at or near the top of their respective leagues' statistical categories throughout the season.
New Hampshire senior Paul Thompson (Derry, NH) and Boston College junior Cam Atkinson (Greenwich, CT) have both been scoring at a torrid pace as the their team battle for supremacy in Hockey East. Workhorse junior forward Chris Connolly (Duluth, MN) of Boston University has been a consistent leader for the Terriers, as has Providence College senior Kyle MacKinnon (Walnut, CA) for the Friars.
Yale seniors Denny Kearney (Hanover, NH) and Chris Cahill (North Andover, MA) join Little as mainstays of the deep and talented Bulldog forward waves. Holy Cross sophomore Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, IL) leads his team in scoring and rounds out the field as the lone semifinalist from Atlantic Hockey.
"Once again the Walter Brown Award Committee took on a formidable task in evaluating all the worthy nominees and selecting a field of semifinalists. Unfortunately, not every player who received serious consideration is on this list," remarked Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello.
The Gridiron Club will announce the finalists and winner of the 59th Walter Brown Award in March, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA Tournament play. The award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers' Dinner in April.