Boston University senior defenseman Matt Gilroy has been named the winner of the 57th annual Walter Brown Award, presented to the best American-born Division I player in New England, Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Steve Grogan announced Friday.
Gilroy, a native of North Bellmore, N.Y., is the Terriers’ co-captain and one of a talented group of seniors who powered the Terriers to a superb 31-6-4 campaign that included championships of the Beanpot, the Hockey East regular season, and the Hockey East playoffs.
The Terriers are ranked first in the nation and will face Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
A graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, N.Y., Gilroy has eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points. He was a Hockey East first-team all-conference selection for the third consecutive year and has been an All-America pick the past two seasons. He is also one of 10 finalists for the 2009 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
“I simply can’t say enough about what Matt has meant to this team in his role as captain this year,” remarked coach Jack Parker, who also pointed out that Gilroy, a walk-on forward when he enrolled at BU, turned down an opportunity to turn professional after last season.
Gilroy elected to stay in school and play on the team that included his younger brother Kevin. Last year’s disappointing 19-17-4 finish kept the team out of the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years, but this season the Terriers started fast, lost consecutive games only once during the season, and have compiled a 20-2-3 record since December.
Three forwards also emerged from the field of 16 semifinalists to receive strong support in the final voting for this year’s Walter Brown Award.
University of Massachusetts sophomore James Marcou was the leading scorer in Hockey East games this season with 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points; Yale junior Sean Backman scored 20 goals and added 13 assists for the Bulldogs, who captured their first ECAC championship in 48 years; and Northeastern senior Ryan Ginand was a prominent contributor to the resurgent Huskies, scoring 20 goals and adding 12 assists.
“In such a competitive league as Hockey East, talent alone is never enough. Nor is good coaching. You also need on-ice leadership and those other intangibles that only experienced, mature players can bring to the game night after night. Matt Gilroy is one of the best examples of senior leadership that we’ve ever seen,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee Chairman Tim Costello.
The Gridiron Club will present the 57th Walter Brown Award to Gilroy at the New England Hockey Writers’ annual dinner on April 13.