DETROIT — Miami finished first in the CCHA this year off a surprise Frozen Four appearance last April, and coach Enrico Blasi took home the prize for the league’s coach of the year Thursday.
He’s the first coach in CCHA history to win four times. In his acceptance speech, he emphasized the personal struggles he’s gone through this past season and the support and comfort his hockey family has brought him.
Miami’s Tommy Wingels took home the best defensive forward award, and the best defensive defenseman went to teammate Will Weber. Weber was the third RedHawks player to win the award in the past five years, and the fourth in Miami’s history.
RedHawks goaltender Cody Reichard completed the Miami set, taking home the player of the year award. He was on the CCHA first team, was a Perani Cup winner, the CCHA’s best goaltender and was featured in the top 10 finalists of the Hobey Baker Award.
“The credit really goes to my teammates,” Reichard said. “They’re the ones blocking the shots in front of me, taking pucks, making plays. They’re a great group of guys and we have a great staff at the university to support us all the way.”
Northern Michigan’s junior Erik Gustafsson took home the best offensive defenseman prize. Gustafsson was also nominated for player of the year and best defensive defenseman and was the only player to return to the first team. Teammate Mark Olver was also on the first team with the most votes. He also took home the leading scorer award and is one of the top 10 Hobey Baker finalists.
Alaska took home their first rookie of the year award with Andy Taranto who was also on the All-Rookie team. Teammate Dion Knelsen took home the CCHA top scholar athlete and the CCHA Humanitarian Award.
“I feel so honored, but it’s all a team effort,” Knelsen said. “I don’t feel like I do a whole lot. All my teammates are just as committed to humanitarian efforts and academics as I am. Our whole program makes a great effort.”