College Hockey:
2003 Winner Ayers, Eaves Lead 14 Walter Brown Semifinalists

— New Hampshire goaltender Mike Ayers, winner of last year’s award, and three-time nominee Ben Eaves of Boston College were among 14 semifinalists named Monday for the 52nd Walter Brown Award, presented annually by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston to the top American-born player in New England.

Eleven Hockey East players and three from the ECAC comprise the list, announced by club president Tom Burke. Nine forwards, three goalies and two defensemen are among the semifinalists.

Four schools, all from Hockey East, have more than one candidate, led by Boston College’s three.

Along with Ayers and Eaves, the nominees from Hockey East include BC’s Tony Voce and Ryan Shannon; New Hampshire’s Steve Saviano; Maine’s Todd Jackson and Jim Howard; Stephen Wood and David Cacciola of Providence; Merrimack’s Bryan Schmidt; and Massachusetts’ Stephen Werner. From the ECAC, Yale’s Joe Zappala; Tom Cavanaugh of Harvard; and Dartmouth’s Lee Stempniak were named.

“Every year we seem to find a group of outstanding candidates for the Walter Brown Award, and this year is clearly no exception,” said committee chairman Tim Costello. “There are roughly six weeks of hockey yet to be played. Our committee members will be observing these nominees closely and will make the final selection in mid to late March.”

The Walter Brown Award, the nation’s oldest college hockey honor, will be presented at the New England Hockey Writers’ Dinner in April.

For more information, visit www.gridclubofgreaterboston.com or email info@gridclubofgreaterboston.com.

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