Hobey winner Eichel on comparison to Kariya: ‘It’s the greatest compliment’

Boston University’s Jack Eichel pretends to grimace at the weight of the Hobey Baker Award (photo: Melissa Wade).

BOSTON — As anticipated, Boston University forward Jack Eichel capped off a year of individual honors with the 2015 Hobey Baker Award.

The freshman from North Chelmsford, Mass., is just the second rookie to win the award, joining Maine’s Paul Kariya (1993).

2015 Frozen Four

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“It’s the greatest compliment,” Eichel said about being compared to Kariya.

Eichel leads the nation in points (70), assists (44), and plus/minus (plus-51). He has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in seven postseason games so far, with Saturday’s national championship game against Providence still to come.

“What an honor to win something that I’ve dreamed about my whole life,” Eichel said.

After getting the award at a ceremony at Matthews Arena on Friday, he thanked his family and teammates for “making this the most memorable year of my life.”

Hobey finalists, winners: Full list

Reflecting on his family, Eichel said: “When they called my name, mom and dad were sitting in the front row. I choked up for a minute because of how important my parents are and what they’ve done for me.”

“Every year has been his best year,” said Eichel’s father, Bob. “It’s just gotten better and better. This year, it’s been nice to have him at home.”

Eichel beat out Hobey Hat Trick finalists Zane McIntyre of North Dakota and Jimmy Vesey of Harvard in voting by a selection committee after the NCAA regionals.

[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000Etr_GOOte9s” g_name=”20150410-Hobey” f_show_caption=”t” f_show_slidenum=”t” img_title=”casc” pho_credit=”iptc” f_link=”t” f_bbar=”t” fsvis=”f” width=”500″ height=”375″ bgcolor=”#AAAAAA” bgtrans=”t” btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” crop=”f” trans=”xfade” tbs=”4000″ f_ap=”t” linkdest=”c” f_fullscreen=”f” f_constrain=”f” twoup=”f” f_topbar=”f” f_bbarbig=”” f_htmllinks=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”f” f_show_watermark=”f” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”f” f_up=”f” target=”_self” wmds=”llQ6QNgpeC.p1Ucz7U.f229pkQH2MJAX2FSMZDIanBzlxRbkcDHaqiJfZfF8VVhRu3LOlA–” ]Looking back on his season so far, Eichel said he was trying not to get caught up in winning the Hobey because his focus is on Saturday’s national championship game.

“I think this season I’ve hit most things that I wanted to with the exception of one,” he said. “I hope to cap a great season tomorrow. That’s the important one.”

Eichel is the first Boston University player to win the Hobey since Matt Gilroy in 2009. Gilroy’s Terriers won the national championship the next day, defeating Miami 4-3 in overtime in Washington, D.C.

“I watched that game and that would be an unbelievable way to cap off a great season,” said Eichel. “Playing for the national championship 30 minutes from my home and in my freshman year. I’m really excited and it’s a little extra special that it’s in Boston.”

Eichel, who is expected to be one of the first players selected in this year’s NHL draft, said that a decision on returning for another year of NCAA hockey will have to wait.

“There’s positives any way you look at it,” he said. “[Staying means] another year of development, another year to play for coach [David] Quinn.

“I’m focused on winning a championship. When the time comes, I’ll make [the decision] with my family and make it with my heart. There’s no rush to go anywhere.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Eichel totally deserved it. Its no coincidence that BU went from having a terrible season last year to being in the Frozen Four this year. He slanted the ice in the Terriers favor all year. Vesey should be the front runner next year – he really had a break out year.

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