NCAA Frozen Four
Dakota's Duncan Wins Hobey Baker Award
Dakota forward Ryan Duncan is the second Fighting Sioux
player to win the Hobey Baker Award.
LOUIS – The first time Bob Duncan had his son Ryan
on skates, the three-year-old hit his head on the ice and
wanted off the rink in the worst way. The elder Duncan ignored
his boy's pleas and admits dragging Ryan around the rink
for 30 minutes to give him a feel for hockey.
On Friday, Bob's efforts to get his son to
like the game were proven overwhelmingly successful. At
a podium set up on the red line of the Scottrade Center,
Duncan was handed the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's
best collegiate hockey player.
The sophomore from Calgary led North
Dakota's run to the Frozen Four this season, earning WCHA
player of the year honors with 31 goals and 26 assists.
Savard Wins Humanitarian Award
forward Kristin Savard is the winner of the 2007 Hockey
senior forward from Framingham, Mass., Savard
founded "Teaming Up", Yale's effort to raise
awareness for improving maternal health in the developing
world. Yale raised money to enable the women of the
Keiskamma community in South Africa to partake in
the UbuMama program. UbuMama ("motherhood")
is an arts-based initiative in which women produce
a maternity gown depicting the challenges of motherhood.
The garments are used as instruments to gain support
for the cause.
also helped organize efforts to raise funds by other
teams at Yale, including the women's swimming
and diving team and the women's lacrosse team.
"It doesn't take the time commitment
that people really think it takes. Because we have
the publicity and because we have the alumni network
we really have an opportunity to do great things.
By putting in a little bit of effort it really goes
a long way."
Savard is the 12th recipient of the
award, which was created to recognize college hockey
players — male or female — who give back
to their communities in the true humanitarian spirit.
"He's got a natural goal-scorer's patience,"
said Fighting Sioux coach Dave Hakstol. "There are
times when he gets it and snaps it right away and there
are other times when there's just a split-second delay where
he'll find a hole."
Ryan followed his father's footsteps to North
Dakota. Bob played 88 games for the Sioux between 1968-71,
winning three letters. But other than practicing with his
son in the family's basement, Bob claims no credit for the
boy's on-ice abilities.
"He practices it a lot," Bob said,
with a grin. "I guess that's where it's from, because
I certainly didn't have a shot like that."
Duncan, along with fellow sophomores T.J.
Oshie and Jonathan Toews, formed the most-feared offensive
line in the nation this year. The trio combined for 155
points and led North Dakota on an amazing run in the season's
second half that culminated with a third consecutive trip
to the Frozen Four. But according to Hakstol, Duncan's work
early in the season when his eventual linemates were injured
and the team was below .500 was as important in winning
the award as anything Duncan did in February and March.
"Those three played together as a combination
only six or seven games the first half of the year,"
Hakstol said. "Some of that was due to line-juggling
and some of it was due to injuries, but Ryan was very consistent
in his production throughout the year."
Still, Duncan admits to be fortunate to play
with Toews and Oshie, and was quick to credit them, and
his team, for his success.
"They made me a lot better as well,"
Duncan said. "We fed off each other. It was a real
pleasure to play with those guys. They're first-round draft
picks for a reason. They're going to make a lot of money
someday. They make the game a lot easier to play."
In becoming just the third sophomore to win
the award, Duncan finished ahead of Air Force forward Eric
Ehn and Notre Dame goaltender David Brown, both of whom
were on the ice for the announcement. The crowd of a few
thousand was in a playful mood beforehand, with Air Force
fans chanting "Let's Go Eric!" and a sizeable
contingent from North Dakota countering by chanting Duncan's
North Dakota's storied program has won seven
NCAA titles, but Duncan is just the second Sioux player
to win the Hobey, following forward Tony Hrkac in 1987.
"It's about the program and it's
about the success of the team," said Hakstol. "Obviously
the seven national championships are very important, but
it's been 20 years since Tony Hrkac won the Hobey Baker.
The individual honor of Ryan being put into that category
is very, very special."
Earlier Friday, Notre Dame senior goaltender
David Brown was 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.
Sportscaster Dick Enberg 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