‘No surprise’ that 23 NCAA hockey standouts named semifinalists for 2020 Walter Brown Award

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 26: David Cotton #17 of the Boston College Eagles skates against the Yale Bulldogs during NCAA men's hockey at Kelley Rink on November 26, 2019 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The Eagles won 6-2. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/USCHO) (Rich Gagnon)
Boston College captain David Cotton is one of 23 semifinalists for the 68th Walter Brown Award (photo: Rich Gagnon).

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Monday the 23 semifinalists for the 68th 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, where the team defeated Canada 2-1 in overtime in the championship game.

Player's NameClassPositionSchool
Nick AbruzzeseFr.FHarvard
Michael CallahanSo.DProvidence
Mitchell ChaffeeSo.FMassachusetts
David CottonSr.FBoston College
Jason CottonSr.FSacred Heart
Patrick CurrySr.FBoston University
Tim DohertySr.FMaine
Casey DornbachSo.FHarvard
Jack DrurySo.FHarvard
Jack DuganSo.FProvidence
David FarranceJr.DBoston University
Quin ForemanJr.FDartmouth
Mitchell FossierSr.FMaine
Logan HutskoJr.FBoston College
Tyler IrvineSr.FMerrimack
Charlie KelleherJr.FNew Hampshire
Spencer KnightFr.GBoston College
Mike LeeSr.DSacred Heart
John LeonardJr.FMassachusetts
Tyler MaddenSo.FNortheastern
Ryan SheaSr.DNortheastern
Jeremy SwaymanJr.GMaine
Tyce ThompsonSo.FProvidence

Five of the 2020 nominees were semifinalists a year ago: Massachusetts forwards Mitchell Chafee and John Leonard, Boston College forward David Cotton, Northeastern forward Tyler Madden and New Hampshire forward Charlie Kelleher.

The nominations of David Cotton and his brother Jason mark the first time that siblings have contended for the award. Bill Cleary (1956) and his brother Bob (1957 and 1958) are previous winners, as were Mark Fusco (1983) and his brother Scott (1986).

“This number of semifinalists is more than we’ve ever had,” said committee chairman Tim Costello in a statement. “Last year, there were 20, and the year before, there were 16. This is no surprise. Just look at how tight and competitive the standings in all three of the Division I leagues are. There are so many teams in contention for top spots in the league races with a little over a month to go in the regular season.

“It stands to reason that there would be many candidates still in the running for the Walter Brown Award at this stage as well.”

The finalists and winner of the award will be named in March, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA tournament play. The award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers’ Awards Brunch on May 3 at Prince Restaurant in Saugus, Mass.

The 2019 Walter Brown Award winner was Harvard defenseman Adam Fox.