The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced today the 2012 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Jack Connolly from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The announcement came during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in a live ceremony held at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida and aired live on NHL Network.
A Hobey top ten finalist for two straight years, Connolly had a terrific season finishing second in the nation in scoring and second in assists. As a member of the defending national champions, Connolly produced 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points in 41 games played.
Hobey Baker was the legendary Princeton hockey player known as America’s greatest amateur athlete one hundred years ago. He redefined how the game was played with his coast-to-coast dashes in an era when hockey was contested with seven players and no forward passes. Baker, a member of the U.S. Army’s Air Corp, died testing a repaired aircraft at the end of World War I after he had completed his military service. Hobey Baker Award criteria includes strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements. Connolly was selected from a group of ten finalists by a 23-member selection committee and online fan balloting.
A hometown hero from Duluth, Minn., Connolly is two-time All American who lit up the WCHA this past season winning the regular season conference scoring title, being named a First Team all-star for the third consecutive year and topped it all off as the WCHA Player of the Year. Tremendous skill as a playmaker defined Jack’s game as he had an innate ability to see the ice and make smooth, intelligent puck decisions.
Durability was an added bonus – he never missed a college game, dressing for 166 straight games in donning the Bulldog maroon and gold. Consistency was another strength - he was held pointless for consecutive games only twice in his four-year career and established a school record 22-game point streak this past season.
Jack is as determined off the ice as he was on it. A Communications major sporting a 3.3 GPA, he is a three-time All-Academic Student-Athlete in the WCHA. He’s active in community endeavors helping with trash clean-up in the Adopt-A-Highway program, visiting Duluth hospitals, volunteering with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and working with various cancer fund-raisers. Hockey runs deep in the Connolly family as Jack’s older brother Chris, was the captain and second leading scorer for Boston University this past season. Connolly is a pro hockey free agent.
Connolly becomes the fifth Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog to be named the award winner. Previous winners were: Junior Lessard (2004), Chris Marinucci (1994), Bill Watson (1985) and Tom Kurvers (1984). Minnesota-Duluth has had the most Hobey Baker Award winners.