The players of the year in ECAC Hockey, Hockey East and the NCHC are the finalists for the 2017 Hobey Baker Award, announced Thursday as the “Hobey Hat Trick.” They are:
- Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese (Staten Island, N.Y./Lincoln-USHL/PIT)
- Denver’s Will Butcher (Sun Prairie, Wis./NTDP/COL)
- Union’s Mike Vecchione (Saugus, Mass./Tri-City-USHL)
The three were chosen from a group of 10 finalists, with the winner being named Friday, April 7, at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago. The 37th annual announcement will be televised live on NHL Network at 6 p.m. and streamed at hobeybaker.com.
All three finalists are seniors, meaning that the award will go to a senior for the 26th time and second year in a row. Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey claimed the honor last year.
Additional notes on each finalist:
Aston-Reese leads the nation with 31 goals and is tied with Vecchione and UNH’s Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass./NTDP) with 63 points. The first-team All-Hockey East selection signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent.
Butcher has led Denver to a return trip to the Frozen Four, ranking tied for second among the nation’s defensemen with 36 points. A first-team All-NCHC selection and returning second-team All-American, Butcher is the first defenseman in the Hobey Hat Trick since 2009 award winner Matt Gilroy of Boston University.
Vecchione led Union to the ECAC Hockey regular season co-championship with 29 goals – trailing only Aston-Reese nationally – and 63 points. He earned first-team all-conference honors and became Union’s career scoring leader.
The 27-member Hobey Baker Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting selects this year’s Hobey Baker winner from the initial group of 10 finalists. Criteria for the award includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements