PITTSBURGH- There is some solace in losing for St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc
LeBlanc, whose collegiate career ended Thursday night in a 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac, was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award in a ceremony Friday in Pittsburgh. The 23 year-old fifth-year senior forward bested Bobcats goalie Erik Hartzell, the ECAC Player of the Year, and Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau, Hockey East's Player of the Year, to win the top individual honor in men's college hockey.
LeBlanc is the first St. Cloud State player to receive the award and second straight Minnesotan to win it after Minnesota-Duluth's Jack Connolly in 2012.
The Hobey Baker Award, named after a Princeton hockey player and World War I veteran, has been awarded since 1981 with its criteria including strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievement while displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game.
"I'm honored, blessed to win the award," LeBlanc said after accepting the award. "Today belongs to Hobey Baker and what he represents."
Drew's road to the Hobey is one of the longer roads in recent history. LeBlanc was given a medical redshirt last year after a broken leg cost him all but 10 games. He made the most of it, returning this season to lead the nation in assists (37) and scored 50 points as part of St. Cloud State's co-MacNaughton Cup winning team.
Individually, LeBlanc was the first player in WCHA history to be named both the conference's Player of the Year and Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year. The forward carries a 3.64 GPA and student teaches at a nearby St. Cloud (MN) school.
Most importantly, LeBlanc captained the Huskies to their first-ever Frozen Four appearance in school history. Although St. Cloud State wasn't able to defeat the Bobcats and advance further, the fifth-year senior leaves the team in a better place than when he started.
And a Hobey Baker to boot.