Rookie of the Year
Paul Crowder? Josh Lunden? Kevin Clark? Jon Olthuis? I can make a reasonably good enough argument about each of these four outstanding Seawolf freshman for this award. These guys were all impactful and productive players in their first year. Each one provided fans with excitement and/or anticipation when they were on the ice. And more importantly, these guys (along with freshman teammates Nils Backstrom, Trevor Hunt, Jared Tuton, Ken Selby and Ryan Berry) are going to form a very important core of talent for this team over the next 3 years. This freshman class provided 28 of the teams 85 goals this season. So...um what ...? Am I going to cop out and give the Rookie of the Year award to the whole freshman class? No. I think Paul Crowder's numbers give him the nod. His 10 goals and 13 assists were good enough for second place on the team. His play from his first game set him apart in my mind. His skills with the puck and how strong he was on the puck was a pleasant surprise to this blogger. He's got a helluva nice backhand shot (the most underused skill in college hockey). He's a creative playmaker and a smart finisher.
Most Improved Player
Justin Bourne fully deserves this award. In 05-06 Justin scored 5 goals and 8 assists and this season he scored 10 goals with 20 assists to lead the team in scoring. He had four GWG's over the course of the season to lead the team. Justin's play this season has been noticably more inspired and that's responsible for the increase in his production. He emerged as a strong team leader during the course of the season and even filled the role of on the road "spokesman" when the Daily News called. It's good to give the award to a guy that I heard say in preseason that he wanted to redouble his efforts. He did exactly that.
Heart and Soul
This award goes to the player that best personifies the metaphor of "leaving it all out on the ice". I think there's little doubt that Charlie Kronschnabel is "the" guy who best did that on this years team. Charlie rose from a walkon at UAA to Captain and made his mark on the program with blue-collar hard work all four seasons. His trademark moment in my eyes was the UMD game where he broke his leg and continued to play. A big part of this years team (it's heart and soul) was missing from the lineup when Charlie was out and it was evident in the team's bottom line. With him playing the squad went 8-11-2 and while he was injured they were 4-7-1.
Most Valuable Player
The first year of this award had an inauspicious debut when I determined that no single player had stood out enough to warrant it. Again this year I've had many of the same thoughts. But I think the choice I've made is a good one. Chad Anderson definitely had the best season of his Seawolf career. His 7 goals and 12 assists led the scoring from the blueline and was good enough for 4th best on the team. Chad contributed on both ends of the ice and stood up for his teammates more than once during the season. He assumed the Captaincy during Charlie's absence and did himself proud. Chad's play all season long was both inspired and inspiring.