The host city for this year’s Frozen Four, Philadelphia, is also the birthplace of the award's namesake. The award, which is given yearly to the nation’s best NCAA Division I hockey player, is typically awarded at the site of the Frozen Four on the day between the semifinal and national championship games.
Criteria for the award include candidates emulating the exceptional character traits exhibited by the award’s namesake, Hobey Baker. Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration is also given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
Hobey Baker is considered the first American ice hockey star and played collegiately at Princeton. Baker won two national titles while playing for the Tigers before graduating in 1914. After graduation, Baker eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Service where he served in World War I. He died as a 26-year-old in 1918 after crashing in a plane he was test-piloting hours before he was to return to America from his service in France.
Baker was one of the first nine inductees, and only American, in the inaugural Hockey Hall of Fame class in 1945. In addition, he was also one of the initial inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973. “We’re extremely pleased to be in Philadelphia for this year’s Hobey Baker Award presentation especially because of the historical significance,” said Dan Hoene, the 2014 Hobey Baker Committee Chair. “Hobey was born and raised in Philadelphia; he’s buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery just outside Philly in Bala Cynwyd; and it’s the centennial anniversary of his graduation from Princeton University in 1914. While at the Frozen Four, we want to emphasize the history of Hobey Baker and plan on a special ceremony at Hobey’s gravesite, a focus on his legend during our televised announcement and certainly, we want to continue the theme of our Hobey brand, 'character builds excellence' -- a terrific trait our 10 finalists represent every year.”
The process for this year’s winner has already started with fan voting available at www.HobeyBaker.com until March 9. The fan vote counts as a part of the process which will lead to an announcement of the top-10 list of finalists on March 20. The list will be narrowed further with the naming of the Hobey Hat Trick -- the three finalists who will be present at the winner’s announcement -- on April 2. The winner will be announced on April 11 with the exact time and location of this year’s presentation still being finalized.
Previous winners of the Hobey Baker Award include players who have gone on to standout NHL careers, including Minnesota’s Neal Broten, Michigan’s Brendan Morrison, Maine’s Paul Kariya, Michigan State’s Ryan Miller, Boston University’s Chris Drury and Denver’s Matt Carle. Last year’s winner, Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State, is currently playing in the Chicago Blackhawks' organization.