In what was more of a coronation than an announcement, Wisconsin’s Cole Caufield was officially named this year’s recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top individual player in men’s college hockey.
Fellow hat trick finalists, North Dakota’s Shane Pinto and Minnesota State’s Dryden McKay, both had excellent seasons that, in a different year, could have been worthy of the award. But Caufield’s season was one for the record books.
He scored 30 goals in 31 games, the best goals per game average of any player in a generation. He also added 22 assists to lead the nation in overall scoring.
Caufield’s individual success translated to team success for Wisconsin as well. The Badgers won the Big Ten regular season title—clinched by a pair of Caufield goals on the final day of the regular season—to win their first league title since 2000. The Badgers also returned to the national title after missing out in their past six attempts.
Caufield has signed with the Montreal Canadiens and will make his professional debut Friday evening with the Laval Rocket of the AHL.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s Jack LaFontaine was named the winner of this year’s Mike Richter Award given to the nation’s top goaltender. LaFontaine finished the season with a 1.79 goals against and .934 save percentage, which ranked fourth and third in the nation, respectively.