The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced Friday the 2013 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Drew LeBlanc from St. Cloud State University. The announcement came during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in a live ceremony held at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA and aired live on NHL Network.
Becoming the first Hobey Baker Award recipient from St. Cloud State, Drew LeBlanc, has been a key cog in the Huskies first ever appearance in the Frozen Four. St. Cloud State came up short losing 4-1 to Quinnipiac in the national semi-final game last night.
Hobey Baker was the legendary Princeton hockey player known as America’s greatest amateur athlete 100 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.
The Hobey Baker Award criteria include strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements. LeBlanc was selected from a group of 10 finalists by a 23-member selection committee and online fan balloting.
The masterful playmaking center had an outstanding season leading the nation with 37 assists in 42 games while contributing 13 goals for 50 total points (seventh in the nation). The two-year captain was an exemplary leader on the ice with creative playmaking while on the offensive and diligent effort defensively. LeBlanc had an innate ability to slow the game down, making smart puck decisions, skating a portion of the season with two freshman wingers.
LeBlanc, a fifth-year senior from Hermantown, was named first team all-conference in the WCHA this past season and attained a first in the 52-year history of the WCHA, being named both the Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and the WCHA Player of the Year. A pro hockey free agent, LeBlanc returned to St. Cloud State for a final season after suffering a horrific broken leg injury early last season, receiving a medical redshirt from the NCAA, prompting a determined effort to return for unfinished business.
Ironically, last year’s Hobey Baker winner Jack Connolly, is from Duluth, a mere 10 miles from LeBlanc’s hometown.
Becoming only the fifth player in league history to earn scholar-athlete four times, LeBlanc took on an added academic load to complete his math education degree by student teaching. In the first semester his days began by driving 45 minutes to teach daily at an elementary school in Dassel-Cokato, and culminated in the second semester student teaching at St. Cloud Apollo High School. He has been active in community outreach programs assisting new students on campus with move-ins, helping out at local hockey clinics and participating in a variety of team functions throughout his career at St. Cloud State.
NOTE: LeBlanc will be honored at the Hobey Baker Award Banquet on May 22 at 317 On Rice Park in Saint Paul. Visit hobeybakeraward.com for more information on the Hobey Baker Memorial.