LaFontaine, McKay named Hobey Baker Finalists
The 10 finalists for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award have been announced. The award recognizes the top NCAA men's ice hockey player in the nation. Nominations were given by the athletic departments from Division I schools.
Two of the 10 finalists, Jack LaFontaine and Dryden McKay, are alumi of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalists: Matt Boldy (Boston College), Cole Caufield (Wisconsin), David Farrance (Boston University), Dylan Holloway (Wisconsin), Spencer Knight (Boston College), Jack LaFontaine (Minnesota), Dryden McKay (Minnesota State), Keith Petruzelli (Quinnipiac), Shane Pinto (North Dakota), Odeen Tufto (Quinnipiac)
The ten finalists were selected by voting from all 61 Division I college hockey head coaches plus online fan balloting. Next, the 30-member Selection Committee and an additional round of fan balloting through the Hobey website (hobeybaker.com) March 18-28 will determine this year's Hobey Baker winner. Criteria for the award include: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, LaFontaine is also a finalist for the Mike Richter Award and is one of three Gopher Hockey finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. In addition to being named the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the 2021 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, the senior was also recognized as a First Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Tournament Team selection on Tuesday. He currently leads the nation with 21 wins (21-6-0) and ranks second nationally with a .936 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.74 (among goalies who have played more than 10 games). His save percentage is .001 off the NCAA lead for that statistic. He also ranks tied for second in the NCAA with five shutouts and has even added a pair of assists to Minnesota's high-powered offense. The Carolina Hurricanes selected LaFontaine in the third round (75th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He previously was named the 2015-16 NAHL Midwest Division Goalie of the Year with the Janesville Jets and played in the 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
McKay, recently named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Player of the Year, joined Michigan Tech three-time All-American Tony Esposito (1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67) as just the second netminder to win three-straight WCHA goaltending crowns (lowest goals against average in league games) when he accomplished the feat this year. The Downers Grove, Ill., native is a two-time WCHA Goaltender of the Year (2019-20, 2020-21) and a three-time All-WCHA selection. A two-time Mike Richter Award finalist (NCAA Goaltender of the Year), McKay heads into this weekend leading the country with a 1.25 goals against average, .905 winning percentage (he stands 19-2-0 for the year) and nine shutouts. He currently ranks second on the NCAA career shutouts list with 23 - just three shutouts away from tying the NCAA record of 26 set by Michigan State's Ryan Miller from 1999-2002. McKay appeared in 71 career NAHL games over the course of two seasons with the Corpus Christi IceRays and Springfield Jr. Blues. During the 2014-15 he was honored with the NAHL’s Academic Achievement Award.
The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced on April 1, 2021 and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday, April 9, 2021. The announcement will be televised live on the NHL Network and streamed on the Hobey Baker website at 5:00 p.m. CT.