David Brown of Notre Dame, Air Force’s Eric Ehn and Ryan Duncan of North Dakota make up the “Hat Trick” of three finalists for the 2007 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, announced Wednesday by the Hobey Baker Foundation.
The “Hat Trick” members were selected from 10 finalists by the 25-member Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting to determine this year’s Hobey Baker winner. Criteria for the award includes: strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
This year’s Hobey Baker winner will be announced Friday, April 6, from Scottrade Center in St. Louis during the Frozen Four. The announcement will be aired live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. CT.
Senior goalie Brown, from Stoney Creek, Ont., turned in a spectacular season in helping the Fighting Irish to a pair of school firsts: the CCHA regular-season championship and then the league’s playoff title. Advancing to the NCAA Midwest Regional as the number one seed, Notre Dame fell in the championship game to CCHA rival Michigan State, 2-1.
The CCHA Player of the Year, Brown finished the season 30-6-3. He leads the nation in goals against average with a 1.58 mark, and in wins, and is second in save percentage at .931. A Management Consulting major and a member of the school’s Dean’s List, Brown assisted in the Buddy Walk for kids with Down’s syndrome, volunteered for a Kindergarten Read-To-A-Kid program and assisted in team-sponsored Christmas parties for kids. A Pittsburgh draft pick, Brown set seven career and single-season team records.
Duncan, a sophomore forward, helped lead the Fighting Sioux to their third straight visit to the Frozen Four. In 42 games to date, Duncan has bagged 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points, planting him fourth in the nation in scoring and second in goals. His 17 power-play markers are second nationally.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for Ryan, a very well-deserved honor,” said UND head coach Dave Hakstol. “It’s certainly a great honor for our program. I’m very proud of the way Ryan Duncan has handled himself. The Hobey Baker Award is much more than on-ice ability and on-ice play. It’s really an award that goes to a complete person. Ryan exemplifies every aspect of what Fighting Sioux hockey is about on the ice and off the ice. Certainly he’s been a tremendous leader for our team throughout the year.”
The WCHA Player of the Year, Duncan led the conference in points, goals, power-play goals and game winning goals. The Sioux defeated Minnesota 3-2 in overtime in the NCAA West Regional final, helped by Duncan’s first-period tally. Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Duncan is a pro hockey free agent and is undecided in his major, and is a WCHA All-Academic selection.
Said Duncan, “It’s obviously a tremendous honor for me. It’s a surprise, actually. I just was honored just to be in the top 10 or even be mentioned in the same sentence as the guys who’ve won the Hobey Baker. The way I see it, it’s just a reflection of our team. I have to give most of the credit to my teammates. They helped me get to this point, and I share this acknowledgement with them.”
Ehn, a junior forward, helped bring the Falcons to new heights this season. The native of Dexter, Mich., led the nation in scoring for several weeks during the season and finished the year with 24 goals and 40 assists for 64 points in 40 games, sitting second in the nation in points and assists.
“This is a huge honor on the personal level, but is even bigger for the team and the program,” Ehn said. “Any time you get recognized for any award is great, especially one as big as this. I could not be happier for the team to get this kind of recognition and publicity. Hockey is certainly not a game played by one guy, and I think recognition like this shows that we have some pretty good hockey players with some talent here at the Academy. [Andrew Ramsey] is going to St. Louis as well for the skills competition, so this is definitely not about just one guy.”
The first player from a service academy to be a top-10 finalist, Ehn led Atlantic Hockey in points, goals and assists and set an AHA record for points in a season. The AHA Player of the Year sparked his Falcons to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, bowing out in a close 4-3 loss to Minnesota in the West Regional semifinals.
Winning an excellent 63 percent of his faceoffs, the Air Force centerman is a Systems Engineering Management major and AHA All-Academic. He is the element leader for his squadron; assisted in the logistics of the Walk for a Cure for Juvenile Diabetes, has spoken and read books to numerous school groups, and helps dispense toys to hospitalized children during the team’s annual holiday toy drive.
Patrick C. Miller contributed to this article.