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St. Cloud State's LeBlanc wins Hobey Baker Award

by Bob Snow

Mullin named 2013 Humanitarian recipient

J. Tucker Mullin, senior forward at St. Anselm’s College was named the 18th recipient of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award. The event took place on the ice at the Consol Energy Center and preceded the Hobey Baker Award ceremony.

The award is presented annually to the male or female college player who best personifies true community spirit through the selfless commitment of leadership, effort, and time. Since 1996, the award has sought to recognize men and women who give back to the community in the true humanitarian spirit. Past recipients have been recognized for developing and leading service efforts and energetic volunteerism to meet local and global needs.

A team co-captain, Mullin is the co-founder and executive director of his own non-profit off the ice. The Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis Foundation is dedicated to providing emotional and financial support those affected by paralysis. The foundation provides monetary grants to assist medical expenses. He is also his team’s on-campus ambassador for Team Impact, a New England based non-profit serving kids facing life-threatening diseases with team-supported services.

In 88 career games, Mullin tallied 100 points for the Hawks.

PITTSBURGH -- Drew LeBlanc had a pretty good day on Friday.

The senior forward from St. Cloud State was named as the 33rd winner of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top college hockey player in the United States -- and shortly after receiving the award, he agreed to terms with the Chicago Blackhawks on a one-year contract.

LeBlanc is the first Hobey Baker winner from St. Cloud State and the 16th from the Western College Hockey Association. He finished ahead of the other two Hobey Hat Trick finalists -- Johnny Gaudreau, a sophomore forward from Boston College, and Eric Hartzell, a senior goaltender from Quinnipiac University.

The 23-year-old, who was never drafted by an NHL team, was named winner of the Hobey Baker in a ceremony at the Consol Energy Center less than 24 hours after Hartzell and the Bobcats beat St. Cloud State 4-1 in the NCAA Frozen Four.

"I'd still trade this for a chance to play for the national championship," he said of the award.

The Hermantown, Minn., native, a fifth-year senior who was redshirted last season after severely breaking his leg, led the nation with 37 assists this season and led St. Cloud State to the first Frozen Four appearance in school history. In 170 games with the Huskies, he scored 42 goals and added 105 assists for 147 points.

"It's been a season of firsts for St. Cloud State. This is a good one to have too, I think," he said after receiving the award. "The community of St. Cloud takes great pride in their hockey. They've been by my side all the way."

"I still don't believe I won it," LeBlanc added. "I'm still in shock. To keep this in the Duluth area is pretty special. I'm sure it's a pretty special time for the community of Hermantown. It's an honor to represent them and the university."

The trophy is presented in honor of Baker, a star player at Princeton who was killed in a flight-training accident at age 26, while serving in World War I. The criteria for the award include displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.

St. Cloud ended among the top offensive teams in the country, scoring four or more goals in half of its games.

LeBlanc was a First Team all-conference selection and a first in the 52-year history of the league by being named both the WCHA's Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and WCHA Player of the Year.

A four-time All-Academic student, he has been student-teaching all season to complete his requirements for his major in math education. LeBlanc also finds time assisting with new student move-ins, helps out at hockey clinics, and the Skate with the Huskies events.

"Going to school every day and seeing it from the other side, that window is really unique and special," he said. "The kids made my day fun. When my hockey career is done, I can't wait to go back and teach and be a part of someone else's life and help them be the best they can."

LeBlanc is a rarity in college hockey -- a fifth-year senior who decided to put a pro career on hold to finish school.

"The best decision I ever made," he said emphatically.

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