Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hobey Baker Olympians Shining at Sochi Olympics

Hobey Baker Olympians Shining at Sochi Olympics

Image copyright Olympics Organizing Committee

Saint Paul, Minn. – February 18, 2014 –Even though he’s been gone for one hundred years, the influence of Hobey Baker is being felt at the Sochi Winter Olympics. One former winner of college hockey’s most prestigious individual award, six more top ten finalists and two high school character award recipients are all participating in this year’s Olympic hockey tournaments.

The 2001 Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s most outstanding player was Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller. He’s played in one game backstopping the U.S. to a 5-1 win over Slovenia, making 17 saves on 18 shots while falling just 18 seconds shy of an Olympic shutout. The only other goalie to win the Hobey was Robb Stauber (Minnesota, 1988) who is the goalie coach for the U.S. women’s team. Through their first four games, the U.S. is sporting a terrific .923 save percentage having allowed only five goals against.

The Olympic showstopper so far has been T.J. Oshie of the U.S. men’s team. The Hobey top ten finalist (North Dakota, 2008), has a goal and three assists in his first three games, but single handedly helped beat Russia with a dazzling shootout performance, scoring on four of his six shots to help the U.S. to a 3-2 shootout win. Two-time Hobey finalist Zach Parise (North Dakota, 2003 & 2004) is captain of the U.S. team, and despite having no points in his first three games is the third leading forward in ice-time for the American team.

Canada has two Hobey Baker top ten finalists, forward Chris Kunitz (Ferris State, 2003) and forward Martin St. Louis (Vermont, 1995, 1996 & 1997). Neither has a point so far on a talent- laden Canadian squad. Kunitz has played in all three games to date while St. Louis has skated in two contests.

Austria features Hobey top ten finalist Thomas Pock (UMass-Amherst, 2004). The Austrians were eliminated from competition with a qualifying round loss today (Feb. 18) to Slovenia by 4-0. Defenseman Pock collected one assist in four games while finishing second on the team in total ice-time. Sweden’s roster includes two-time Hobey top ten finalist Gustav Nyquist (Maine, 2010 & 2011) who has helped the Swedes to a 3-0 record so far.

And finally, two more Olympians were honored with Hobey Baker High School Character Awards for their respective prep teams. David Backes of the U.S. earned his distinctive honor at Spring Lake Park High School, Minnesota (2006) and has scored twice for Team USA, putting six shots on goal so far, helping the U.S. to a 3-0 record. Gigi Marvin earned her award with Warroad High School, Minnesota (2006) and has led the American women’s team in total ice-time while recording one assist and 18 shots on goal for the veteran defenseman. The U.S. will play Canada for the women’s gold medal on Thursday, February 20.

The 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 11, 2014 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Philadelphia, PA. The 34th annual award announcement honoring college hockey’s top player will be televised live.