A s far as collegiate hockey careers go, it’s not very often a player can put together a resume as impressive as Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Perunovich.
After a star-studded high school career and a stint with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, it’s no wonder the Hibbing, Minn. native began turning the heads of numerous college programs. “All-star,” “special,” “dynamic,” and “fearless” are just a few of the words coaches and teammates have used to describe Perunovich’s game. Ultimately, Perunovich would settle in at a school just an hour and a half from home and playing for a team he grew up watching. The rest, as they say, is history.
Perunovich wasted no time setting the tone for his collegiate career at UMD. During his freshman season in 2017-18, the blueliner put up 11 goals and 25 assists to lead the Bulldogs with 40 points, something that had only been done by a defenseman one other time at UMD. To top it off, he helped the Bulldogs capture their second-ever national championship. As a newcomer, he attained All- American status and was named national rookie of the year by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association, earning him the Tim Taylor Award. Other postseason honors included USCHO.com National Rookie of the Year, College Hockey News National Rookie of the Year, All-USCHO first team, and All-NCHC first team. He was chosen as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Rookie of the Year, a Bulldog first, and NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year, another Bulldog first. That summer, he was drafted in the second round (45th overall) of the NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues. In other words, Perunovich’s rookie season was about as good as it gets.
As a sophomore, Perunovich delivered another admir - able performance. During the season, he collected three goals and 26 assists for 29 points, which put him third in points among Bulldogs, trailing only behind two forwards. He attained All-American status for the second time in his first two years as a Bulldog, a feat that had only been accomplished by one other Bulldog. He found himself as a repeat All-NCHC first team selection and was named NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year for the second year in a row. Perunovich was named to the NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team and helped lead the Bulldogs to another national champion - ship in as many years.
During his junior season – his Hobey Baker Memorial Award winning season – Perunovich kept the momentum going. Throughout his junior season, Perunovich racked up a career-best 40 points, which put him in second place for scoring among defenseman in the NCAA and at the top of the Bulldog charts. It was just the third time a defenseman has done so at UMD, with two of those occurrences now coming from Perunovich. He became the 58th member of the UMD Century Club after surpassing 100 career points during the season. Perunovich attained All-American status for the third time in his Bulldog career, only the third Bulldog to do so. The list of honors goes on as USA Hockey named Perunovich as the Jim Johannson College Player of the Year. For the third time, Perunovich was named to the All-NCHC firstteam (a league first for a defenseman) and also collected the NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year award for the third time. Topping that off, Perunovich was named as NCHC Player of the Year, a Bulldog first. After all of his accomplishments, it’s hard not to wonder what could’ve been for Perunovich and his teammates had the 2019-20 season not been cut short.
On April 11, Scott Perunovich found himself at home watching the Hobey Baker Memorial Award announcement through a livestream on ESPN. Normally, the ceremony would’ve taken place at the Frozen Four, but other plans had to be made after the cancellation of the post season and tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was still a special moment however, as Perunovich was able to celebrate his honor with his family.
So what’s next? The NHL of course. Perunovich has elected to forego his senior season at UMD to join the St. Louis Blues for the 2020-21 season. He may be moving on, but he will leave behind a legacy to be remembered for many years to come. And soon, with his own spot in the rafters of AMSOIL Arena next to the five other Bulldog Hobey Baker award winners, will hang a forever reminder of the mark this incredible player left on this program.
This year we celebrated the Hobey Baker Memorial Award with a 40th Anniversary Hobey Baker Award Golf Classic & Banquet at The Royal Club in Lake Elmo, MN on August 6, 2020. We were fortunate enough to have our event this year while keeping in mind the safety and well being of everyone who attended.