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1987 Winner - TONY HRKAC of University of North Dakota

  

The WCHA Player of the Year in 1987, Hrkac helped the Fighting Sioux to the WCHA regular season and playoff titles in 1986-87, and was named NCAA Tournament MVP in 1987 as North Dakota claimed the national championship. The product of Thunder Bay, Ontario, set an NCAA record for most points in a season with 116 in 1986-87 on 46 goals and 70 assists in 48 games – a record that still stands. He set the WCHA season mark for assists with 70 in 1986-87, scoring 64 goals and adding 106 assists for 170 career points in 84 games with the Fighting Sioux. Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Hrkac spent 20 years playing pro hockey, retiring in 2005 from the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Fourteen of his years as a pro were in the NHL with St. Louis (4 years, 2 stints), Quebec Nordiques (2 years), San Jose, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, NY Islanders, Anaheim (2 years) and Atlanta (2 years). After retiring, Hrkac coached at Concordia University in Wisconsin, but returned to professional play with Houston of the AHL for 12 games in 2008-09 and 17 games in 2009-10.

 

1987 Runner-Up


Wayne Gagne

Western Michigan - Senior - Defense - Toronto, CA

Wayne Gagne In his Senior year he led the CCHA league in scoring as a defenseman, and was a Two Time Div. I, 1st Team All American. He was the Hockey News Runner Up for the Top U.S College Player of the Year. In the year 2001 Wayne was voted to the Western Michigan University Hall of Fame and in the year 2013 during the final weekend of the NCAA -CCHA Division, he was voted to the CCHA All Time 1st Team , along with George McPhee, Kip Miller, Brendan Morrison, Andy Greene and Ryan Miller (Vancouver Canucks). When he graduated from University he left with 8 NCAA records to his name and played 7 years professionally. Wayne skated with the Canadian Olympic Team under the guidance of Dave King, and then went on to sign with the Montreal Canadians. He played in the AHL, the IHL, and won a championship with the Branford Smoke in the Colonial League. He ended his career in Europe playing in the Elite leagues in Switzerland, Holland, and Denmark. Wayne continues to enjoy hockey as the Owner, Program Director, and Head Instructor at Draft Choice Hockey.
 

1987 ADDITIONAL tOP 10 FINALISTS


Brian Leetch

Boston College - Senior - Defense – Cheshire, Connecticut

Leetch is a retired American professional ice hockey defenseman who played 18 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins. He is generally considered one of the top defensemen in NHL history, being particularly noted for his skating, offense, and playmaking abilities. Leetch was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto the following year (his first year of eligibility). Leetch accumulated many individual honors during his 18-year career. He was a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman (1992, 1997) and was the first American-born winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP for his performance during the Rangers' run to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship. Leetch is one of only five NHL defensemen to score 100 points in a season with his 102-point campaign in 1991–92. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year in 1989 and his 23 goals that season remain an NHL record for rookie defensemen. Leetch's number 2 was retired by the Rangers on January 24, 2008. During the ceremony, longtime teammate Mark Messier referred to Leetch as the single "Greatest Ranger of All Time."

  • Won the Calder Trophy as the NHL Rookie of the Year, 1989.
  • Named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history.
  • Inducted along with Rangers teammate, Mike Richter, into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, 2008.

Craig Janney

Boston College - Forward - Defense – Hartford, Connecticut

Craig Janney was one of the most legendary playmakers of his era, skating for 12 years in the NHL after being selected by the Boston Bruins in the first round, 13th overall, of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to the NHL, Janney skated two seasons with the Boston College men’s ice hockey program. In his second campaign (1986-87), the Deerfield Academy (CT) product set the Hockey East Association’s single-season records in points (74) and assists (51). In total that season (1986-87), Janney recorded 83 points (28-55) in 37 games played. Internationally, Janney represented the United States on six occasions, highlighted by helping the U.S. get to the finals of the Canada Cup in 1991 and also earn its first-ever medal (bronze) at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 1986. He also played for Team USA in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games after spending the season as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team leading up to the Games. In addition, Janney competed in two IIHF Men’s World Championships (1987, 1994) and the 1985 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was selected to represent the U.S. in the 1987 IIHF World Junior Championship but could not play due to mononucleosis. All total, Janney registered 26 points, including 15 goals and 11 assists, while donning a Team USA sweater. Known as an excellent puck-distributing center, Janney averaged nearly one point per game in his NHL career. Among American-born skaters in the NHL, Janney ranks first in career assists per game (0.741) and fourth in points per game (0.988) while his 563 assists are 11th all-time. In 760 career NHL games, the Hartford, Connecticut, native registered 188 goals and 563 assists for 751 points while playing for seven teams (Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders).

  • All-Hockey East First Team, 1986-1987.
  • AHCA East First-Team All-American, 1986-1987.
  • Inducted into the Boston College Hall of Fame, 2016.

Gary Emmons

Northern Michigan University - Senior - Forward – Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

After four years with Northern Michigan University, Winnipeg, Manitoba native Gary Emmons turned pro with the Milwaukee Admirals. Emmons had originally been selected by the New York Rangers in the Supplemental Draft, but by the time he joined the Admirals he had signed with the Edmonton Oilers. For the 1988-89 season Emmons, a center, joined the Canadian National Team and on the strength of a nearly point-a-game pace for Team Canada he earned a free agent contract from the Minnesota North Stars. In the North Stars organization, Emmons began an association with the International Hockey League, spending two seasons with the Kalamazoo Wings, then in 1991-92 jumping to the Kansas City Blades. At the beginning of the 1993-94 campaign, Emmons signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks, and at last found his ticket to the National Hockey League. Though he still spent the majority of his season with the Blades, Emmons was summoned to the NHL for three games with the Sharks and he managed to light the lamp for an NHL goal. He never got back to the NHL following his three game stint and spent the next three seasons back in Kansas City with the Blades, where he served as team captain, before announcing his retirement on July 17th, 1997. On August 21st, 1998 Emmons returned to the Kansas City Blades as the teams assistant coach

  • Inducted into NMU Hall of Fame, 1999
  • Holds the school record for first in most power play goals in one season(21).
  • Ranked second in career scoring and first in career goals in NMU men’s ice hockey.

Joe Nieuwendyk

Cornell University - Junior - Forward – Oshawa, Ontario Canada

Eligible for the 1984 NHL Entry Draft but unselected, Nieuwendyk chose to attend Cornell University where he played hockey and lacrosse for the Big Red. He was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) hockey rookie of the year in 1984–85 after scoring 39 points in 23 games. At the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, the Calgary Flames selected him in the second round, 27th overall, with a pick obtained that day in a trade with the Minnesota North Stars for Kent Nilsson. The disappointment in Calgary over the trade of Nilsson resulted in some criticism of Nieuwendyk's selection, famously leading to a local newspaper to question the moves with the headline "Joe Who?" Returning to Cornell for the 1985–86 season, Nieuwendyk chose to give up lacrosse in order to focus on hockey. He was named an NCAA All-American after scoring 42 points in 21 games. He was again named an ECAC All-Star and NCAA All-American in 1987. Nieuwendyk chose to forgo his senior year in favor of turning professional. In 81 games with Cornell, Nieuwendyk scored 73 goals and 151 points, both among the highest totals in the school's history. His number 25 jersey was retired by Cornell in 2010, shared with Ken Dryden's number 1 as the first such numbers retired by the hockey team, and believed the first in any sport in the school's varsity sports history. In 2011, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in ECAC history. {insert Bio Paragraph}

  • Named ECAC First-Team All-Star, 1985-1986.
  • Named MVP of and led the ECAC in scoring with 52 points, 1987.
  • Cornell University retired his playing jersey number 25 in 2010.

John Cullen

Boston University, Forward

 

  

 

Lane MacDonald

 
Harvard University, Forward

 

  

 

Tom Sasso

Babson College, Forward

 

  

 

Tony Granato

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Forward