Maine netminder Swayman selected winner of 2020 Walter Brown Award as top American-born college hockey player in New England

Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman finished the 2019-20 season with an 18-11-5 record, a 2.07 GAA and a .939 save percentage for the resurgent Black Bears (photo: Maine Athletics).

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Tuesday that Maine junior goaltender Jeremy Swayman is the winner of the 68th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

Swayman is the second Maine player and the first Back Bear in 32 years to receive the award after Mike McHugh took home the honors in 1988.

“Our hearty congratulations and best wishes go out to Jeremy, to the finalists and semifinalists, and to their teammates and all the teams of Atlantic Hockey, ECAC Hockey and Hockey East,” said Gridiron Club president Cheryl Duddy Schoenfeld in a news release. “The abrupt end of play was hard and frustrating for all of us, but especially for the senior student-athletes who will not get to cap off their careers with a chance to compete in the playoffs.

“We thank them, salute them, and wish them Godspeed in all their future endeavors.”

Drafted in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, Swayman is also the second goalie from Anchorage to win the award. Ty Conklin of New Hampshire received it in 2001.

During the 2019-20 season, Swayman led all Hockey East goaltenders in save percentage (.939), and his overall goals-against average of 2.07 placed him 15th in the nation.

The 18-11-5 Black Bears ranked ninth in the conference in total offense, but backstopped by Swayman’s play between the pipes, they were third in total defense. Maine played in nine overtime games over the course of the season and didn’t lose one of them, posting a 4-0-5 mark in those contests. Their three defeats during a 10-3-2 second-half surge were all by a 3-2 margin.

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.

Finalists for the 2020 Walter Brown Award included Boston College senior forward David Cotton, Sacred Heart senior forward Jason Cotton, Harvard sophomore forward Jack Drury, Providence sophomore forward Jack Dugan and Massachusetts junior forward John Leonard.

“All of the finalists in this year’s balloting for the Walter Brown Award had superb years,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello in a statement. “Their teams were well positioned for the post-season and a shot at the 16-team NCAA tournament, which, unfortunately, will not happen this year. Nonetheless, they can take tremendous pride in their accomplishments of the past season, where many other Eastern players in addition to them were among the nation’s leaders in just about every category.”

The Gridiron Club will present the Walter Brown Award to Swayman at the New England College Hockey Writers’ awards brunch, which is currently scheduled for May 3 at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus, Mass.