The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced Tuesday the 19 semifinalists for the 69th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born NCAA Division I hockey player in New England.
The nation’s oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the 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.
Three of the 2021 nominees were semifinalists a year ago in Boston College sophomore goaltender Spencer Knight, Boston University senior defenseman David Farrance and Providence junior forward Tyce Thompson.
2021 WALTER BROWN AWARD SEMIFINALISTS
Matt Boldy, So., F, Boston College
Chris Dodero, Sr., F, American International
David Farrance, Sr., D, Boston University
Matt Gosiewski, So., F, Bentley
Jordan Harris, Jr., D, Northeastern
Marc Johnstone, Sr., F, Sacred Heart
Zac Jones, So., D, Massachusetts
Brennan Kapcheck, Sr., D, American International
Matt Kessel, So., D, Massachusetts
Spencer Knight, So., G, Boston College
Marc McLaughlin, Jr., F, Boston College
Jay O’Brien, So., F, Boston University
Keith Petruzzelli, Sr., G, Quinnipiac
Jackson Pierson, Jr., F, New Hampshire
Zach Solow, Sr., F, Northeastern
Jaxson Stauber, So., G, Providence
Tyce Thompson, Jr., F, Providence
Bobby Trivigno, Jr., F, Massachusetts
Odeen Tufto, Sr., F, Quinnipiac
“This number of semifinalists is down slightly from last year’s highest-ever total of 23, and we’re announcing the names about a month later than usual because play got underway much later than normal,” said committee chairman Tim Costello in a statement. “The Ivy League schools, which make up the majority of the New England-based ECAC Hockey teams, did not move forward with their seasons due to the pandemic. This is why there are fewer semifinalists overall, and just two from the ECAC this year.
“Nonetheless, we’ve seen some great hockey in this shortened season, and there’s plenty more to come in the remaining regular schedule and the campus-based playoff rounds. We feel that this is a superb field of semifinalists for the Walter Brown Award, which is America’s oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor. We’re very glad to be able to keep the tradition alive for the sixty-ninth year in a row.
“The committee members also feel that we’re speaking for the entire college hockey community in expressing our gratitude to everybody who pitched in and collaborated to help make the 2020-21 season a reality. The coaches and the players had to prepare and practice under stringent conditions and with uncertain and ever-changing rosters and schedules. And the administrators of the schools and leagues all went above and beyond to make sure that the games would go on.
“We’ll remember this season for a long time. Not all those memories will be fond ones, but we all learned some valuable lessons about sportsmanship.”
The 2020 winner of the award was Maine junior goalie Jeremy Swayman.
The Gridiron Club will announce the finalists and winner of the 69th Walter Brown Award on March 21, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA tournament play.
Additionally, the Joe Concannon Award, which for the past 20 years has been given to New England’s best American-born player in Division II/III, will not be handed out this year because too few teams have been able to compete.