Each year, NCAA men’s hockey teams have the chance to nominate up to three players for the Hobey Baker Award—the award given to the best player in college hockey. For the 2012-2013 season, the nominees for the Colonials are seniors Adam Brace, Zach Hervato, and Eric Levine.
When it came time to nominate players, head coach Derek Schooley knew those were the three players he wanted to represent his squad.
“When the nominations were in, those were the guys that deserved to be nominated,” said Schooley. “Do they have the best numbers in the league now? No, but they’re quality players, and they’re guys that deserve it.”
With Brace being a transfer student-athlete from Canisius, his 78 points (36G, 42A) in three short years as a Colonial have been quite impressive.
“Adam Brace is our most dynamic player,” said Schooley. “He produces very well offensively, he has outstanding speed and has become a very good penalty killer for us, and he’s a guy that is dangerous every time he is on the ice.”
Just 26 games through his senior campaign, Hervato has already set career high in points with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.
“Zach Hervato had an excellent start to his year, he was playing hard,” said Schooley. “He competes really hard and he has really taken his game to a new level in his senior year, and he has had his best year as a senior.”
Last but not least is Levine. In his first full year as the Colonials starting goaltender, he has gone 13-8-2 with 2.55 goals against average and a 0.933 save percentage.
“Eric Levine has been outstanding in net. He’s big, he makes the saves, he works after practice extremely hard,” Schooley said. “He finds ways to win even when he doesn’t have his ‘A game’. He has the ability to steal a game, and he also just finds ways to win hockey games.”
The nomination for the award came as a surprise to Levine.
“To be honest I was a little surprised. It’s not something that you think about when the year is going on,” said Levine. “You just try to stay in the moment and play one game at a time, and I was doing that, so you don’t really at the whole season as a whole, because the season is still going on.”
Hervato was also surprised by the nomination.
“I was actually quite surprised because I wasn’t informed until a few days after nominations were announced when [former women’s hockey player] Brianna Delaney told me,” said Hervato. “I couldn’t believe it. I had to go online and check for myself. I was really excited and obviously proud that I’m there with two other players.”
Although their nominations came as a surprised, all three are very honored to be nominated for one of the top college hockey awards.
“When I found out, I was pretty excited,” said Levine “I was obviously very honored and very happy. It’s a pretty cool thing to be nominated.”
“You just look back at the history of the players who have been nominated, and players that have won the Hobey Baker award and it’s just an honor to be put in that category with those types of players and people like that,” said Hervato. “It’s something that is in the back of your mind, but you can’t be worried about it, and we try not to talk about it. The team comes first.”
Brace agreed with his teammates adding, “You know it’s good, they’ve both had great careers, so it’s just nice for them to get some recognition at the end of their careers,” he said. “It was just nice to be recognized along with a couple of great teammates.”
While the award goes to an individual player, all three realize that they wouldn’t be in this position if it was not for the work of their teammates.
“It’s not just the two guys that we’re nominated with—which they are completely deserving of the nomination. I think they would agree that the reason we are nominated is because we have such good teammates,” said Levine. “I wouldn’t be there if guys didn’t score, and they wouldn’t be there if guys weren’t helping them, so it’s a testament to what our team has done as a whole.”
There is still time to vote for all three players to be named finalists for the 2013 Hobey Baker Award. If you would like to vote, please visit, www.hobeybakeraward.com