– Blake Geoffrion
, senior forward from the University of Wisconsin, and a native of Brentwood, Tenn., received college hockey's top award Friday night -- the 2010 Hobey Baker Award.
New Hampshire forward Bobby Butler
(Marlboro, Mass.) and Maine forward Gustav Nyquist
(Malmo, Sweden) were the other two finalists in the ceremony held at Ford Field, site of the Frozen Four.
The 6-foot-2, 188-pound Badgers captain and his teammates play for the national championship Saturday night against Boston College. Geoffrion had a goal and an assist in Wisconsin's semifinal 8-1 win over RIT on Thursday night.
A second-round pick (No. 56) by Nashville in 2006, Geoffrion was also named MVP of the NCAA West Regional as Wisconsin beat Vermont and St. Cloud State. His 28 goals and 22 assists in 39 games rank second in the nation in goals, and he's tied for first in the country with 15 power-play goals. Finishing second in the WCHA scoring race and topping the conference in goals and power-play goals, he was selected as a First-Team all-star.
Geoffrion's coach, Mike Eaves, had a simple rollout of escalating analysis about his talented senior to justify the first-ever Hobey Baker for a Wisconsin player in the award's 30-year history.
"He's our top faceoff guy -- maybe the best in the country," said Eaves who takes his alma mater to another championship game after winning it all in 2006. "Blake's the first guy to kill penalties; uses his body to block shots. On the power play, he's our post guy – the guy in front of the net. He has a real good feel for that.
"His ability to play in all situations and his ability to lead and create offense is what he brings to the table. His teammates recognize that. Blake was out a couple games. A couple guys came up and said: ‘Jeez, you know, we're a really different team without Blake.' That's coming from the inside out."
Geoffrion said the award came as a surprise to him.
"I can definitely say that I didn't think I'd be up for the Hobey Baker Award," said Geoffrion, who added that he returned for his senior season for three reasons.
"We had a lot of depth, an older team," he said. "I knew we had a chance to do something special. I wanted to play in the outdoor game. That was definitely one of my goals that I wanted to do. The third thing was to get my college degree. I'll only be the second Geoffrion in my family to get it.
"I'm so happy and pumped to win this award. I can't thank my teammates enough."
Geoffrion's family is a lineage of hockey greats.
His father Danny, grandfather Bernie "Boom Boom" and great-grandfather Howie Morenz
all played for the Montreal Canadiens
. Morenz and Bernie Geoffrion
are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"I got a little something," Blake Geoffrion
said with a smile when asked about how his award ranks among the Geoffrion family's hockey accomplishments. "I wouldn't say it's close to what they accomplished in their hockey careers."
"I wish so much my dad were here," Danny Geoffrion said of his late father, who won six Stanley Cups; his grandfather won three.
Five Hobey Baker winners have won a national title in the same year. Geoffrion wants to make it six.
"The job is still not done," he said. "We still have one more win to go."
The award honors the memory of Princeton's Hobey Baker -- considered the greatest amateur athlete in his day -- who was a fighter pilot in World War I, and was killed in a post-war test-pilot accident.