Two straight: Harvard’s Vesey bags Walter Brown Award for second consecutive season

Harvard senior forward Jimmy Vesey is a repeat winner of the Walter Brown Award, taking home the honor after turning down pro hockey last spring (photo: Melissa Wade).

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Friday that Harvard senior forward Jimmy Vesey is the winner of the 64th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college player in New England.

Vesey, also the 2015 Walter Brown Award winner, becomes only the fifth player win it twice. The first was the late Bobby Cleary of Harvard in 1957 and 1958. Others were Tim Sheehy and Mike Mottau of Boston College and Chris Drury of Boston University.

Vesey turned down an opportunity to play professional hockey after last season, preferring to finish out his college career first.

The leading goal scorer in the ECAC with 24, Vesey also collected 22 assists in 32 games prior to Harvard’s first-round NCAA tournament game against Boston College. Playing on the Crimson’s first line along with Kyle Criscuolo and Alex Kerfoot, he had five game-winning goals, six power-play goals, and one short-handed score this season.

“A tremendous honor for a tremendous young man,” ECAC Hockey commissioner Steve Hagwell said in a statement. “Jimmy is a most deserving recipient. He is an impact player in all situations on the ice, but equally impressive is the first-class manner in which he carries himself off the ice.

“Jimmy is a model representative of ECAC Hockey. We are thrilled for him to be honored again with such a prestigious award.”

Vesey was also named ECAC Player of the Year and is one of the 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists for the second consecutive year. He was chosen from a field of 23 superb candidates, including Massachusetts-Lowell senior goalie Kevin Boyle, Yale junior goalie Alex Lyon and Quinnipiac junior forward Sam Anas.

“Congratulations to Jimmy Vesey on another great season and to all of the semifinalists and finalists for this year’s Walter Brown Award,” added committee chairman Tim Costello. “It was another outstanding field that made for a very competitive selection process, and the quality of the roster of candidates makes Jimmy’s second win in a row all the more impressive. I’d also like to thank and compliment our award committee members for their hard work and a job well done.”

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