University of Denver captain Will Butcher has been named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award for the 2016-17 season. The honor is given annually to the nation’s top college hockey player and was announced on Friday as a part of the Frozen Four weekend in Chicago.
Butcher, a senior defensemen, was named captain of the team by head coach Jim Montgomery coming into the 2016 camp. His excellent play on the ice and composure off the ice matched the ‘C’ on his chest — while his consistency as the top defenseman in the NCHC week-in and week-out brought a tremendous amount of nation-wide attention to him in the college hockey landscape.
On the season Butcher has put up a career high 37 points and 30 assists to go along with seven goals in 42 games played. He was a fifth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Draft and the word is that the Avs are considering offering him an entry-level contract once this weekend is complete.
This is the second time a DU Pioneers player has won the Hobey Baker, as defenseman Matt Carle won the award back in 2004 when Denver won it’s fifth National Championship and the first of it’s back-to-back titles (2004 and 2005).
This is the third individual award given out to DU Pioneers this week, as Tanner Jaillet won the Mike Richter Award for the nation’s top goaltender, and head coach Jim Montgomery won the Spencer Penrose Award as the top coach in college hockey this season.
The Hobey Baker is an elite award given to the best of the best every year in college hockey — but the job is not complete for Will Butcher. The award would mean so much more if he could pair it with a National Championship on Saturday night.