PHILADELPHIA — What long had been assumed became reality on Friday.
Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau is the recipient of the 2014 Hobey Baker Award, announced Friday at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
For months, Gaudreau has been the frontrunner for the award, finishing the 2013-14 season with 80 points, the highest NCAA Division I season total in 11 years.
He tallied 36 goals and 44 assists in 40 games, and was held off the score sheet just twice this season.
Gaudreau became a favorite for the award after being paired with fellow Hobey finalist Kevin Hayes and senior Bill Arnold in December. The trio generated 128 points, leading the Eagles to the national semifinals.
He scored a point in 31 consecutive games from Nov. 1 to March 15, tying a Hockey East record also held by Maine’s Paul Kariya in 1992-93.
“It’s a great honor and privilege,” said Gaudreau after receiving the award. “I stood on many shoulders to get here.”
He thanked his parents, siblings, teammates and coaches, especially BC coach Jerry York, who also coached Hobey winners George McPhee (Bowling Green, 1982), Brian Holzinger (for three years at Bowling Green prior to Holzinger winning the award in 1995), and Mike Mottau (Boston College, 2000).
“[My coaches] believed that someone my size could contribute at such a high level,” said Gaudreau, who is listed at 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8. “I’m proud to be an Eagle and accept this award on behalf of all who helped me get here.”
Gaudreau was tight-lipped about his plans for next season, even though it was announced later Friday that he had signed a deal with the Calgary Flames. A fourth-round draft pick, he gave up his senior year for the professional ranks.
When it was pointed out that he has to make a decision soon on whether to sign with Calgary or come back for his final year, Gaudreau’s only response was: “Yep. Correct.”
This year’s ceremony in Philadelphia had a local touch as the city is the birthplace of Hobey Baker, as well as close to Gaudreau’s home town of Carneys Point, N.J., about 30 miles away across the Delaware River.
Greg Carey from St. Lawrence and St. Cloud’s Nic Dowd, both seniors, were runners-up for the award, comprising the other two thirds of the Hobey Hat Trick.