March 15, 2017
By Dan Colleran
SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Notre Dame junior forward Anders Bjork has been named one of the 10 finalists for the 2017 Hobey Baker Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top NCAA Division I men’s hockey player.
Bjork becomes just the third player in program history to be named a top-10 finalist since the award was first given out in 1981, joining the likes of forward Dave Poulin (1982) and goaltender David Brown, who made the top 10 and finished as the runner-up in 2007.
Bjork is also one of five finalists for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s finest citizen for leadership in community service. He is just the second player to be a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in the same season, joining Cody Reichard of Miami (2012).
Bjork has skated in 35 games this season, totaling 19 goals and 28 assists to lead the Irish in scoring with a career-high 47 points. His 47 points rank sixth in Hockey East and are tied for 11th in the country, while his 1.34 points per game average also ranks 11th nationally. He has five game-winning goals this year, which ranks tied for third in Hockey East and tied for seventh in the country. The Irish are 20-5-2 this season when he registers at least one point and 10-3-0 when he scores at least one goal.
A fifth-round pick by the Boston Bruins in the 2014 NHL Draft (146th overall), Bjork has posted 14 multi-point games this season, including four-point efforts against Arizona State (Oct. 8) and UConn (Oct. 28). Bjork is the first Irish player to reach the 45-point plateau since 2010-11, when T.J. Tynan had 54 points.
Bjork reached the 25-point plateau in his 15th game of the season, marking the fastest any Notre Dame player has reached 25 points in the Coach Jeff Jackson era.
Skating in 111 career games, Bjork has scored 38 goals and added 64 assists for 104 points, which ranks 46th on Notre Dame’s career points list. He notched his 100th point with an assist versus Providence (Feb. 18), becoming the 51st player in program history to reach 100 career points and the first junior to do so since Tynan and Anders Lee in 2013.
Bjork, who is part of the fourth father-son duo to play at Notre Dame, joins his father Kirt as the first father-son tandem to each register 100 career points at Notre Dame (Kirt was a 1983 All-American who totaled 161 points on 76 goals and 85 assists).
The other nine finalists for the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award include Zach Aston-Reese (forward, Northeastern), Michael Bitzer (goaltender, Bemidji State), Will Butcher (defenseman, Denver), Spencer Foo (forward, Union), Tyler Kelleher (forward, New Hampshire), Alexander Kerfoot (forward, Harvard), Tyler Sheehy (forward, Minnesota), Mike Vecchione (forward, Union) and Charles Williams (goaltender, Canisius).
The 10 finalists were selected by voting from all 60 Division I college hockey head coaches and by online fan balloting. For the next phase, the 27-member Hobey Baker Selection Committee and an additional round of fan balloting (march 16-26) through the Hobey Baker Facebook page will determine this year’s winner. The Hobey Hat Trick (of the top three finalists) will be announced on March 30 and then the winner will be announced on Friday, April 7 in Chicago.
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.
— ND —
Dan Colleran, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been a part of Fighting Irish Media since August 2015 and coordinates all media and publicity efforts surrounding the Notre Dame hockey and golf programs. A native of Walpole, Massachusetts, Colleran spent the previous three years working with the men’s hockey and soccer programs at Providence College. Colleran also spent two years as an Assistant Executive Director of Communications & Championships at the Ivy League and is a graduate of Providence College (’06 & ’08G).