Notre Dame senior goaltender David Brown (Stoney Creek, Ont.) became the first player in program history to be named the RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Year at the annual CCHA Awards banquet on Thursday, March 15.
Nine individual honors were awarded at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre, including six determined by a vote of the league’s 12 coaches.
Brown leads the nation in goals against average, posting a 1.68 average in 33 games, and is tied for fourth nationally in save percentage with a .927 mark. He is the first Notre Dame player to be named player of the year in the 17 years that the Irish have been a member of the league.
Western Michigan forward Mark Letestu (Elk Point, Alta.) was selected the CCHA Rookie of the Year after finishing second in the nation in the regular season in points per game for rookies with a 1.24 average over 34 games. He also ranked first in the CCHA in shorthanded goals with five, fourth in the league with 21 goals and seventh in scoring at 42 points.
Jeff Jackson was recognized as the CCHA Coach of the Year after leading the Irish to a 19-point improvement in the standings over last season and their first regular-season CCHA championship. This is the second CCHA Coach of the Year award for Jackson, who won in 1990-91 with Lake Superior State.
Ohio State junior forward Tom Fritsche (Parma, Ohio) was presented with the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award in recognition of his perseverance, dedication and courage in his battle with severe ulcerative colitis, a chronic intestinal disorder that caused him to lose 40 pounds and miss the first half of the 2006-07 season. Fritsche’s return gave an immediate lift to the team despite him not being at full strength. Ohio State won the Ohio Hockey Classic in his first two games back, including a win against then-No.4 Miami in the championship game.
The seventh annual Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian award was presented to Michigan senior defenseman Tim Cook (Montclair, N.J.). Cook is involved in several Ann Arbor-area programs including the Big Brother program and From the Heart Council for Mott Children’s Hospital visits. Cook has been a regular at the hospital the last four years and has taken the lead on getting the Wolverines more involved each year. The Ilitch Humanitarian is given to the league’s top citizen based on his contributions off the ice, as well as on, to his team, his program, his school and his community.
Wolverine teammates won both defenseman awards with senior Matt Hunwick (Sterling Heights, Mich.) earning the Best Defensive Defenseman Award and sophomore Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich.) receiving the Best Offensive Defenseman Award. Hunwick was a force on the defensive side of the nation’s top offensive team and finished tied for fourth in the CCHA in plus/minus with a +18. Johnson finished the regular season tied for first in the nation in points-per-game for a defenseman averaging one point-per-game. Johnson was named Defenseman of the Week three times while Hunwick picked up the same honor once this season.
Miami junior forward Nathan Davis (Rocky River, Ohio) was selected as the Best Defensive Forward after he helped the RedHawks finish third in the CCHA in team defense and he finished the regular season with a +17 rating.
Nebraska-Omaha senior defenseman Michael Eickman (Grand Forks, N.D.) received the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for the second straight year. Eickman currently has a grade point average of 3.937 and has been on the Dean’s List every semester he has been enrolled at UNO. He will graduate in May with a degree in psychology and will enroll in the School of Dentistry at Nebraska in August of 2007.