Denver’s Will Butcher, who has led his team to the national championship game set for Saturday in Chicago, claimed college hockey’s top individual honor on Friday as he was presented the 2017 Hobey Baker Award.
A defenseman and team captain from Sun Prairie, Wis., Butcher is the second Pioneer and sixth defenseman to win the Hobey.
Butcher edged out forwards Zach Aston-Reese of Northeastern and Mike Vecchione of Union for the honor.
“First, I thank my teammates,” Butcher said in his acceptance speech. “Without them, this would not be possible. As I have said before, I believe this award to be a team award. As I accept this award, I accept it on behalf of my team at DU.
“At Denver we talk about following the process and to never focus on the results. My four years at Denver have been a process. Playing college hockey with such great teammates has been the highlight of my career.”
Butcher has been highly decorated while leading the Pioneers to the title game. He was also named a first-team All-American on Friday and has been recognized as the NCHC Player of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year.
He enters the championship game with 37 points in 43 games, the second-best total among the nation’s defensemen. Those totals rank fourth among the Pioneers in scoring.