New Hampshire forward and Hobey Baker finalist Bobby Butler was named the Hockey East player of the year Thursday as the league hosted its annual awards dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.
Butler headlined a trio of Wildcats named among the first-team All-Stars. Butler dominated all Hockey East scorers with 21 goals and shared the lead with 41 total points in just 27 league games.
Only slightly off Butlerâ€™s pace was Merrimack rookie Stephane Da Costa who was an easy selection as Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Year. Da Costa ranked third in league play with 36 points in his first season with the Warriors. He averaged better than one assist per game in league play and was among the nationâ€™s scoring leaders all season long. He swept the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Month Award this year, winning it five consecutive times since the season began, which marks a new league record.
The coaches of the respective major award winners, UNHâ€™s Dick Umile and Merrimackâ€™s Mark Dennehy, were co-winners of the Bob Kullen Coach of the Year Award as each led his team to a much better finish than anticipated. Picked to finish fourth in the preseason coachesâ€™ poll, the UNH Wildcats battled some of the deepest competition in Hockey East history to emerge with their eighth regular season title, tying Boston University for the second most ever. Merrimack, meanwhile, following five straight last place finishes, was picked to finish last once again. But Dennehy coached the Warriors to 12 wins in league play this year, their most ever, including one each over BC, BU, Maine and UNH, to finish in a tie for sixth. He is the first Merrimack coach to be honored as Hockey East Coach of the Year, and he and Umile are the first-ever co-winners.
Hockey East First-Team All-Stars
G: Brian Foster, New Hampshire
D: Justin Braun, Massachusetts
D: Colby Cohen, Boston University
D: Blake Kessel, New Hampshire
F: Bobby Butler, New Hampshire
F: Brian Gibbons, Boston College
F: Gustav Nyquist, Maine *
* unanimous selection
Hockey East Second-Team All-Stars
G: Carter Hutton, UMass-Lowell
D: Jeremy Dehner, UMass-Lowell
D: Jeff Dimmen, Maine
F: Cam Atkinson, Boston College
F: Stephane Da Costa, Merrimack College
F: James Marcou, Massachusetts