PHILADELPHIA -- UMass-Lowell sophomore Connor Hellebuyck won the inaugural Mike Richter Award on Friday as the best goaltender in NCAA hockey.
UMass-Lowell sophomore Connor Hellebuyck won the inaugural Mike Richter Award on Friday as the best goaltender in NCAA hockey. (Photo: Getty Images)
Hellebuyck, a 2012 fifth-round pick (No. 130) of the Winnipeg Jets, led all college goalies with a 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, and his six shutouts were tied for second. He went 18-9-2 in 29 games.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound native of Commerence, Mich., signed a three-year, two-way entry-level contract with the Jets on April 5. The contract has an average annual value of $925,000.
Other finalists for the Richter award were Denver senior Sam Brittain, Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox, Wisconsin junior Joel Rumpel and Northeastern junior Clay Witt.
"It's a huge honor," Hellebuyck said. "It's a huge milestone in my life I'll never forget. Just being picked for this from some of the great goaltenders that could have easily been chosen, it says something."
Presenting the award were Richter, who spent two seasons at the University of Wisconsin before going on to play 15 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, and Hockey Hall of Fame member Bernie Parent; Richter, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Abington, Pa., idolized Parent growing up. The award is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation.