There are four criteria against which nominees for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award are considered:
The selection process for the award is in three parts. First, the head coaches of NCAA Division I schools nominate the top three players in their league and the top three players in the nation. College hockey fans can also vote online at this time—and fan voting can be an important factor in the balloting outcome. Price Waterhouse Coopers tabulates the votes and the top 10 candidates are announced.
Voting then commences for the "Hobey Hat Trick," which is a narrowing of the field from ten players to three, from which the winner is selected. The primary voting in this part of the process is by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Selection Committee, a geographically balanced group of 29 individuals representing print and electronic sports media, college hockey coaches and officials, and NHL scouts. Fans may also vote online for their favorite candidate during this phase of the process.
After the three finalists for the award are announced ("Hobey Hat Trick"), the countdown begins toward the announcement of the award winner in a nationally televised ceremony.