This year’s CCHA award-winners were crowned at the Fox Theatre in Detroit tonight. Here’s a look at the winners and some of their accomplishments from the 2011-12 campaign.
RBC Player of the Year – Torey Krug, Michigan State
There’s not much praise that Torey Krug hasn’t already received this year, which is why the captain of the Spartans has been named the CCHA’s RBC Player of the Year. The junior defenseman from Livonia took home all-league honors for the second year after he led the conference in scoring, notching 29 points in CCHA play. The blueliner has suited up in 37 games this season for new coach Tom Anastos – notching 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points on the season. Krug leads the CCHA in points per game and comes in fourth in power-play points. One stat that will never show up on a scoresheet is the heart and determination Krug shows on a nightly basis, logging massive amounts of ice time in every situation.
Coach of the Year – Bob Daniels, Ferris State
Bob Daniels has been at the helm of the Ferris State Bulldogs hockey club for 20 years now. After being named a finalist for Coach of the Year during the 2010-11 campaign, Daniels is taking home the honor this season after leading the Bulldogs to a 23-11-5 overall record and 16-7-5 first-place finish in the CCHA. Another award in Daniels’ trophy case is the 2002-03 American Hockey Coaches Association Division I Coach of the Year award. And if those honors don’t speak for themselves, he’s the winningest coach in Bulldogs hockey history. Daniels’ dedication to the Ferris State program is why his team is perennially considered one of the toughest to compete against.
Rookie of the Year – Alex Guptill, Michigan
Freshman Michigan man Alex Guptill’s 16-goal, 32-point season led the Wolverines and qualifies him for the Rookie of the Year honor he’s receiving this year. The Newmarket, Ontario native tops the freshman scoring list and ranks sixth in overall CCHA scoring. Personal stats aside, the play of Guptill is a key reason why the Wolverines head into the CCHA championships to take on Bowling Green Friday night. Championship hockey squads have depth, and Guptill has certainly provided a presence in the Wolverines’ line-up this season.
Goaltender of the Year – Connor Knapp, Miami
Connor Knapp was the face of the resurgence for Miami in the second half of the CCHA season. Knapp posted a league-best 1.41 goals-against average in 16 CCHA games, along with a .945 save percentage and four shutouts. Knapp led the country with a 1.43 GAA and is second with a .943 save percentage. Fans can expect that Knapp will be a difference-maker in the CCHA Championships this weekend.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year – Chad Billins, Ferris State
It’s important to remember that college hockey players are still considered student-athletes. With that in mind, Ferris State senior Chad Billins has shown what it takes to achieve success both on the ice and in the classroom this season. Billins takes home this year’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. Billins carries a 3.82 grade-point average despite juggling academics with a demanding hockey workload. He has been on FSU’s Dean’s List every semester he’s been in college. To top it off, he’s also working an internship for the Ferris State athletic department.
Terry Flanagan Award – Domenic Monardo, Lake Superior
The Terry Flanagan award is issued annually to a player who has shown “perseverance, dedication, and courage while overcoming adversity.” Lake Superior junior forward Domenic Monardo has stared adversity right in the face – and beat it. After losing his father to cancer, in junior hockey, Monardo overcame a broken neck after being checked from behind, and re-entered the hockey world with a jump in his step. After spending time in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Oakville, Ontario native joined up with the Lakers as a walk-on before earning his scholarship. He has suited up in 39 games this season, and posted 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points.
Ilitch Humanitarian Award – Cody Reichard, Miami
Hockey players are known for their off-ice work and Cody Reichard is no exception. The RedHawks’ senior goaltender started his own charity called Swoop’s Stoop, which helps kids facing life-altering sickness at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. After starting the charity following his sophomore season, Reichard has gone on to be a mainstay between the pipes in Miami. The RedHawks led the CCHA this season in fewest goals allowed (75).
Best Offensive Defenseman – Torey Krug, Michigan State
Michigan State standout Torey Krug steps up to win the best offensive defenseman award, as well. As previously noted, the junior captain leads the CCHA, and all defensemen, in scoring. Not bad for a guy who captains a team and has his sights set on the Hobey Baker award.
Best Defensive Defenseman – Dan DeKeyser, Western Michigan
The Clay Township native and Western Michigan star is by far the most sought after National Hockey League free agent on the market. Those that are familiar with DeKeyser’s play and are close to NHL GMs claim he has his pick of which city he’ll play in at the next level. Hometown fans will be happy to know that even the Red Wings are in on the talks. DeKeyser takes home the best defensive defenseman award for his outstanding season on the blue line for the Broncos. The sophomore suited up in 38 games for former NHL bench boss Andy Murray, earning five goals and 11 helpers for a 16-point campaign. He was also named Second Team All-CCHA.
Best Defensive Forward – Luke Glendening, Michigan
The captain of the Wolverines knows how to play a two-way game, as he takes home best defensive forward honors. The senior from Grand Rapids punched in nine goals and posted nine assists for an 18-point season in Ann Arbor. He might not be at the top of the scoring list, but that’s because Glendening was busy helping the Wolverines hold down the second spot in the CCHA for scoring defense (2.13 goals per game) and second in goals allowed (81).