Penguins draft pick David Brown, Notre Dame's senior goaltender, has been named the first-ever recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's hockey.
The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to college hockey’s outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete.
Lowe’s will present the award on Saturday night on ESPN during the national championship game between Michigan State and Boston College.
Earlier this year, Lowe's announced the addition of men's hockey and three other NCAA sports to the award program that originally was launched in 2001 with basketball. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation's premier tribute to college seniors. The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student athlete, with criteria including excellence in the classroom, character and community, as well as competition in sports.
“I am very honored to be selected by Lowe's to receive this prestigious award and honor," Brown said. "I have greatly benefited from my four years as a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame as my time here has allowed me to further both my academic and athletic endeavors. I would like to thank my teammates, my coaches and the University of Notre Dame for giving me the opportunity to play hockey at the highest level and Lowe's for establishing this great award."
Brown finished the year at Notre Dame with a 30-6-3 record to go with a 1.58 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage and six shutouts. He ranks first in the nation in wins, first in goals-against average, second in save percentage and is tied for second in shutouts. He set Notre Dame single-season records in each of those categories.
During his senior year, Brown helped lead Notre Dame to its first-ever regular-season Central Collegiate Hockey Association title and first-ever CCHA tournament championship, earning tourney MVP and conference player of the year honors. He is also one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award that goes to the nation's top collegiate player. That award will be presented tonight at 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU.
He finished his Notre Dame career with the best goals-against average (2.32), the best save percentage (.916) and the most shutouts (12). His 55 career wins rank second on Notre Dame's all-time list.
“David Brown is a player who has benefited from playing all four years of his collegiate eligibility,” said Notre Dame men’s hockey coach Jeff Jackson. “He’s experienced the ups-and-downs over his four-year career and it has helped him grow as both a hockey player and as a student-athlete. Having college hockey players finish their careers is essential to both the growth of the student-athlete and the game. David is very deserving of this honor from Lowe's for his hard work over the past four years and his outstanding senior season at Notre Dame.”
The hockey All-American is also a champion in the classroom and community. A management consulting major in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, Brown carries a 3.23 GPA and will graduate in May 2007.
He also has been involved in the hockey team's local community service projects. He has participated in the Buddy Walk for kids with Downs Syndrome, has helped painted for local hospitals and helped with the team's annual skating party with kids from the local Boys and Girls Clubs.
“This is an extremely exciting time of year for us at Lowe's because awarding the Senior CLASS Award is about so much more than honoring talented athletes,” said Bob Gfeller, SVP of Marketing and Advertising at Lowe’s. “The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is about acknowledging hard-working students who embody the spirit of their communities. David has set a great example for us as he reflects on the goals he has accomplished and the promising future ahead of him.”
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team based on voting results of the finalists. Joining Brown on the 2006-07 First Team is: Kirk MacDonald of Rensselaer, Matt Anderson of Massachusetts, Billy Devoney of Air Force and Jeff Jakaitis of Lake Superior State. The Second Team consists of: Michel Léveillé of Maine, Nate Raduns of St. Cloud State, Ryan Mahrle of Western Michigan, Curtis Fraser of Alaska - Fairbanks, and Glenn Fisher of Denver.
Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men's basketball players leaving school early for the NBA.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, has expanded the Senior CLASS Award program this year to include NCAA Division I men's hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men's and women's basketball. The winner in each sport will be announced at the respective NCAA Championship events.