Laura Hurd Award Finalists

The American Hockey Coaches Association has released its five finalists for the 2011 Laura Hurd Award, given annually to the Division III Women’s Player of the Year.

The award was named after former Elmira College ’05 standout and NCAA Division III career points leader Laura Hurd, who passed away in an automobile accident a year after graduating in the summer of 2006.

Hurd accumulated a remarkable 120 goals and 117 assists for 237 career points over her four-year career in the purple and gold to put her nine points clear of Plattsburgh’s Elizabeth Gibson’s 226 points. Her all-time career points record will likely never be touched.

This year’s five finalists vying for the prestigous award are RIT’s Sarah Dagg, Norwich’s Sophie Leclerc, Wis. Eau Claire’s Kristin Faber, St. Catherine’s Michaela Michaelson, and Trinity’s Kim Weiss. The winner will be announced on Thursday at the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship banquet at RIT.

All five players were named their respective conference’s player of the year and all are seniors. The award has traditionally been given to seniors honoring a career rather than a single-season acheivement. The only non-senior to win the award was Plattsburgh’s Danielle Blanchard in 2008 when she led the Cardinals to back-to-back national championships.

Forward – Sarah Dagg, RIT

Dagg (St. George, Ontario) has been a standout two-way player for the Tigers for the last four seasons, while being a team captain for three of them. She has been an All-American in each of her last two seasons and will likey add another this season after leading RIT’s top-ranked offense with 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points. She has 63 goals and 90 assists for 153 career points in 103 games played, which ties her for 15th all-time in D-III and the RIT career points record holder Alysia Park.

Forward – Sophie Leclerc, Norwich

Leclerc (Barre, Vt.) has been the Cadets’ captain for the last three seasons and continues to raise the bar as the Norwich all-time career points leader with every game she plays. This season has been Leclerc’s finest yet as she has tallied an even 24 goals and 24 assists for a nation-leading 48 points to help get Norwich back to the NCAA semifinals for the second straight season. She has 70 goals and 87 points for 157 points in 110 career games and is one of only two players in NU women’s hockey history record 100 career points. She is currently tied with UMass-Boston’s Melissa Belmonte for 12th on the all-time scoring list.

Forward – Michaela Michaelson, St. Catherine

Michaelson (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) is the only repeat finalist from last year as she was named the MIAC Player of the Year for the second straight season. Last year, Michaelson helped put St. Catherine women’s hockey on the map by leading the Wildcats to a program-record 18 wins and a MIAC Championship game appearance before falling to Gustavus Adolphus. Michaelson tallied 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points this season and has totaled 61 goals and 51 assists for 112 career points in 98 games. She holds numerous school records including most game-winning goals, most power-play goals, and most shorthanded goals.

Forward – Kristin Faber, Wis. Eau Claire

Faber (Austin, Minn.) was named the NCHA Player of the Year after closing her career with an impressive senior campaign, leading the conference with 22 goals. She has also tallied 10 assists for 32 points to bring her career total to 67 goals and 46 assists in 113 games. She was named a First Team West All-American last season and will likely earn that honor again this season. Faber has been the driving force behind the Blugolds’ offense the last four seasons, leading the team in scoring every year and totaling 22.6 percent of the goals Wis. Eau Claire has scored in the last four years.

Forward – Kim Weiss, Trinity

Weiss (Potomac, Md.) has the opportunity to keep the Hurd Award at Trinity for the second consecutive season after former teammate and Trinity standout goaltender Isabel Iwachiw won the award last season for helping put Bantams’ women’s hockey on the map. Weiss was named the NESCAC Player of the Year after totaling 22 goals and nine assists for 31 points. In her career she has 62 goals and 46 assists for 108 points in 101 games played. She concluded her career as the all-time Trinity scoring leader and the only player in program history to ever top 100 points while being a complete two-way player for the Bantams. She was the captain the last two seasons and was named All-NESCAC in each of her four seasons, including first team the last three seasons.

Past Winners of the Laura Hurd Award

2000 – Sylvia Ryan, Middlebury College
2001 – Michelle Labbe, Middlebury College
2002 – Sarah Moe, Gustavus Adolphus
2003 – Angela Kapus, Middlebury College
2004 – Molly Wasserman, Williams College
2005 – Laura Hurd, Elmira College
2006 – Emily Quizon, Middlebury College
2007 – Andrea Peterson, Gustavus Adolphus
2008 - Danielle Blanchard, Plattsburgh State
2009 - Kayla Coady, Elmira College
2010 – Isabel Iwachiw, Trinity College