The 2014-15 Hobey Baker Memorial Award was probably sewn up months ago, but now it’s official. Boston University freshman forward Jack Eichel took home the award given out annually to the nation's top college hockey player.
Eichel, who led BU to a 5-3 over North Dakota in the national semifinal Thursday night, is the nation’s leading scorer with 70 points. The 18-year-old has one game left to play as his Terriers will take on Providence College Saturday in the national championship game.
The North Chelmsford, Mass., native had three points in the victory over North Dakota including a pair of goals to reach the 70-point plateau. He has 26 goals and 44 assists for an average of 1.79 points per game this season.
Eichel, who beat out junior forward Jimmy Vesey from Harvard and North Dakota’s junior goalie Zane McIntyre for college hockey’s top individual prize, is just the second freshman to take home the Hobey in the award’s history. The last to do so was Paul Kariya, who won after posting a staggering 100 points in 39 games for the University of Maine in 1992-93.
Kariya is just one of several notable NHL players to have won the Hobey Baker. Others include Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller, Minnesota North Stars legend Neal Broten and former BU Terrier Chris Drury.
Eichel is expected to be the No. 2 pick in the NHL Entry Draft in June. He will head into the offseason with a boatload of accolades from what is likely to be his only season in the college hockey ranks.
Among the other awards, Eichel was named Hockey East player of the year, Hockey East rookie of the year, All-Hockey East first team, Hockey East All-Rookie Team, and a first-team All-American.
The Terriers have also been racking up team hardware all season as BU has won the Beanpot tournament, as well as the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championships. Now they'll play for their biggest trophy yet Saturday.
It's hard to believe BU went from an abysmal 10-21-4 just a season ago to 28-7-5 and playing for the national championship. That just shows how big of an impact Eichel has had on the program since arriving in the fall and a big reason why he is the newest Hobey Baker winner.