The 2001 CCHA Awards held few surprises as the Spartans captured the greater share of the glory in Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre March 15.
Ryan Miller was named Player of the Year, the fourth straight Michigan State player to be so honored and the sixth overall. The sophomore from East Lansing, Mich., led the NCAA in wins (28), goals-against average (1.36) and save percentage (.948), and broke a 70-year-old NCAA record for career shutouts, posting eight during the regular season and 17 in two years at Michigan State.
Miller also picked up the league’s Best Goaltender Award, and was honored as a member of the First All-Conference Team.
Fellow Spartans Andrew Hutchinson and John Nail were also singled out. Hutchinson becomes the fifth consecutive Spartan to receive the league’s award for Best Defensive Defenseman, and Nail is the third Spartan in a row to be named the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward.
R.J. Umberger was named Rookie of the Year, the third Buckeye to receive the award. Umberger, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., was second among rookies in league scoring both overall (14-23-37) and in conference (11-19-30) play, and tied for the team lead at Ohio State (20) and was second in goal production for the Buckeyes.
Enrico Blasi earned Coach the Year Honors in his second season at Miami University. The RedHawks, picked to finish ninth in the media preseason poll and sixth in the coaches’ poll, tied for second place in the CCHA with a 17-10-1 mark.
Nebraska-Omaha senior Greg Zanon was named the Best Offensive Defenseman. Zanon finished second among blueliners in scoring (20 points) and scored more goals (nine) than any other defender in the league.
Falcon defenseman Doug Schueller was given the Terry Flanagan Memorial Award in recognition of his perseverance in recovering from two major knee surgeries during his career. The award, given to a player who has overcome personal adversity to play the game, is named after former Bowling Green assistant coach Terry Flanagan, who died of cancer in 1991.
UNO’s Jason Cupp was the first-ever recipient of the Mike and Marian Ilitch Humanitarian Award, named the owners Olympia Entertainment, which owns the Detroit Red Wings.
The ceremony also celebrated the CCHA’s 30th anniversary. The brainchild in 1971 of three head coaches — Jack Vivian of Bowling Green, Ron Mason of Lake Superior State College, and Bill Selman of St. Louis University — the league initially included Bowling Green, St. Louis, Ohio State, and Ohio University.
Former league officials Matt Shegos and John Pearson, who both retired at the end of the 1999-2000 season, were also recognized during the ceremony. Shegos served as a referee for 18 years, while Pearson watched the lines for 17.