Twenty candidates announced for 2015 Walter Brown Award

Boston University’s Danny O’Regan is one of 20 candidates for the 2015 Walter Brown Award (photo: Melissa Wade).

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Wednesday the 20 NCAA Division I players that are semifinalists for the 63rd Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

The nation’s oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 by the members of the 1933 Massachusetts Rangers, the first American team ever to win the World Championship Tournament. Brown coached the Rangers to the title in Prague, Czechoslovakia, that year as the team defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the championship game.

Fourteen teams are represented in the slate of candidates that includes 12 players from Hockey East, six from ECAC Hockey and two from Atlantic Hockey. The list includes 11 forwards, five defensemen and four goaltenders.

Player's NamePositionClassSchool
Sam AnasFSo.Quinnipiac
Kyle CriscuoloFJr.Harvard
Thatcher DemkoGSo.Boston College
Jack EichelFFr.Boston University
Danny FedericoDSr.Quinnipiac
Jon GilliesGJr.Providence
Matt Grzelcyk DJr.Boston University
Tyler KelleherFSo.New Hampshire
Alex LyonGSo.Yale
Trevor MingoiaFJr.Providence
Rob NicholsGSo.Connecticut
Danny O'ReganFJr.Boston University
Austin OrszulakFSo.American International
Mike PaliottaDSr.Vermont
Eric RobinsonFSr.Dartmouth
C.J. SmithFFr.Massachusetts-Lowell
Frank VatranoFSo.Massachusetts
Jimmy VeseyFJr.Harvard
Steve WeinsteinDSr.Bentley
Dylan ZinkDSo.Massachusetts-Lowell

O’Regan, Vesey, Weinstein and Anas are repeat nominees from last year, while Grzelcyk and Gillies were both semifinalists in 2013.

“Competition throughout the East has been particularly spirited and intense this season,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello in a news release. “Many individual players are having superb years. That’s the main reason that the committee expanded its roster of semifinalists from 16 to 20. Still, there were more than a few others who have played well enough to be on the list.”

The Gridiron Club will announce the finalists and winner of the award in March, following league playoffs and before the start of the NCAA tournament. The award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers’ Dinner in April.

The 2014 winner was Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau.

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