San Jose Sharks defenseman and former University of Denver junior All-American Matt Carle has been named one of three Hat Trick finalists for the 26th Hobey Baker Memorial Award; it was announced today by the Hobey Baker Award Executive Committee. The award is given annually to the college hockey player who best exhibits strength of character on and off the ice, contributes to the integrity of the team and displays outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration is also given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
The other two Hat Trick finalists for the Hobey Baker Award are Wisconsin junior goaltender Brian Elliott and Boston College senior forward Chris Collins. Elliott leads the nation in wins (25), winning percentage (.803), goals against average (1.55), and saves percentage (.938). Collins was the Hockey East Player of the Year and a first-team All-Hockey East selection. He ranks second nationally in points, points per game (1.52), goals and shorthanded goals (5).
The winner of the 26th Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be announced in a ceremony to be held in conjunction with this year's Frozen Four in Milwaukee, Wis. The presentation will be made at 5 p.m. at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on Friday, April 7, and will be televised live on ESPNU.
Carle, who seeks to become DU’s first Hobey Baker Award winner, made his NHL debut with the Sharks on March 25 at Minnesota and scored his first NHL goal. He is the Pioneers’ first Hat Trick finalist since the final three announcement was introduced in 2002. He is the fifth Hobey Baker Award finalist in Pioneer history and second in four seasons. Goaltender Wade Dubielewicz was named to the final 10 in 2002. Other DU finalists for the prestigious award include Ed Beers (1982), Dallas Gaume (1986) and Dave Shields (1990).
Carle recently completed his junior season with the Pioneers where he was named WCHA Player of the Year, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All WCHA. He became the first player in WCHA history to garner both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Awards in the same season. He leads the nation with 1.08 assists per game and is tied for 10th in scoring at 1.36 points per game. He leads all NCAA Division I blueliners in points (53), assists (42) and is second with 1.36 points per game. Carle finished tied for second in league scoring and is tied for third in WCHA overall scoring. He led all WCHA defensemen in points, goals and assists in league play. Carle set DU's single-season assist record for defensemen at 42 and his 53 points rank second on DU's single-season points list for defensemen. He was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Dec. 5, Dec. 19 and Feb. 13. In addition, Carle was named to the All-WCHA All-Academic Team for the second consecutive season. A real estate and construction management major, he carries a 3.30 grade-point average.
Carle helped DU to back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2004 and 2005 and became the first American born hockey player to capture a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championships and win an NCAA title in the same season. He netted a career-high 53 points on 11 goals and 42 assists in 39 games this season. He leaves DU as the fourth-most prolific scoring defenseman in school history after netting 122 points on 29 goals and 93 assists in 112 career games.
In 2004-05, Carle was a consensus All-American after scoring 44 points on 13 goals and 31 assists. In 2003-04, he was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team after scoring 25 points on five goals and 25 assists in 30 games.
The six-foot, 195-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the second round (47th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.