April 5, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey program announced its individual awards for the 2008-09 season at its annual Awards Program held Sunday afternoon at the Mendoza College of Business Atrium and Auditorium. The end-of-season program also honored the Irish graduating senior class of 2009.
For the second consecutive year, goaltender Jordan Pearce (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska) was chosen as the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s team Most Valuable Player and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley’s Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award winner. Pearce followed an outstanding 2007-08 campaign with a brilliant season this past year. An honorable mention all-CCHA selection and a finalist for CCHA player of the year, Pearce finished the year with a 30-6-3 overall record to go with a 1.68 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage and eight shutouts. He led the nation in wins and shutouts, was second in goals-against average and fifth in save percentage. His 30 wins and eight shutouts set Notre Dame single-season records and he finished his career with a school record 59 victories. During the season, he reeled off a 20-game unbeaten streak (17-0-3) from Oct. 31 to Jan. 30 and during the CCHA playoffs, he was 4-0 with a 0.75 goals against and a .973 save percentage plus a pair of shutouts. Away from the rink, Pearce also is a top student. He owns a 3.816 grade-point average with a double major in Anthropology and Pre-Med. He has already begun the interview process for attending medical school. For the second year in a row, he was named to the CCHA scholar-athlete team and this year was selected as the CCHA scholar-athlete of the year. Pearce, along with teammate Erik Condra, are among the 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award that will be announced next week.
The Notre Dame rookie of the year award was presented to freshman right wing Billy Maday (Burr Ridge, Ill.) who was chosen in voting done by his teammates. The 5-11, 177-pound forward was selected to the CCHA’s all-rookie team and was a finalist for CCHA rookie of the year honors. He finished fifth on the team in scoring with 16 goals and 14 assists for 30 points in 39 games. Seven of his goals came on the power play and he had one game winner. blueliner had a strong season for the Irish, playing in 40 games with two goals and three assists for five points. Maday was +5 on the year and led the team with 108 shots on goal. He played a key role on the Notre Dame power play that is currently the best in the nation with a 22.6% success rate.
Junior defenseman Kyle Lawson received the William Donald Nyrop Award as Notre Dame’s top defenseman. He was presented the award by the late Bill Nyrop’s daughters, Jessica and Hannah Nyrop.
Junior defenseman Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich.) was selected as the winner of the William Donald Nyrop defensive player of the year. The award is named after former Irish All-American defenseman Bill Nyrop `74, who played for the Irish from 1970-74. Recognized as one of the top defensemen ever to play at Notre Dame, Nyrop was an all-WCHA and All-American in 1973. He went on to play on three Stanley Cup championship teams with the Montreal Canadiens from 1976-78, before retiring to attend law school. He returned to the NHL for one season in 1981 with Minnesota. He returned to hockey in 1992 as general manager of the Knoxville Chiefs in the East Coast Hockey League and later founded a team in West Palm Beach, Fla., in the Sunshine Hockey League. Nyrop died from cancer on Dec. 31, 1995. Nyrop’s daughters, Jessica and Hannah Nyrop, presented this year’s award. Both are volleyball players, Jessica, a senior at the University of San Diego and Hannah, a freshman at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho.
Lawson, an alternate captain as a junior, was a second team all-CCHA selection and was the winner of the CCHA’s defensive, defenseman of the year award this season. The leader of the Irish defensive corps, Lawson was third among defensemen in scoring with four goals and 19 assists for 23 points. His +14 was second on the team. During the season, he saw action in all situations, on the penalty kill, on the power play and as a shutdown defender.
Senior Justin White was the winner of the Charles “Lefty” Smith coaches award as the team’s unsung hero.
Senior center Justin White (Traverse City, Mich.) was selected by the coaching staff as the winner of the Charles “Lefty” Smith Coaches Award an award presented to the unsung hero of the hockey program, a player who is unheralded, has overcome adversity and shows loyalty and commitment to his teammates, Notre Dame hockey and the University of Notre Dame. The award is named after the first Irish hockey coach of the modern era – Charles “Lefty” Smith who served as head coach of the Irish for 19 seasons from 1968 to 1987, compiling a record of 307-320-30. During his 19 seasons, Smith produced six All-Americans and was the WCHA coach of the year following the 1972-73 season.
White has been a steady contributor throughout his career and has played a variety of roles. This season he had a career high nine goals, including two on the power play and two game winners. His six assists gave him 15 points for the season to equal his career-high point totals. For his career, White played in 119 games with 15 goals and 29 assists for 44 career points. He received his award from its namesake, Charles “Lefty” Smith.
Senior captain Erik Condra was named the team’s offensive player of the year for the fourth consecutive year. He led the Irish in scoring with 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points.
Notre Dame’s offensive player of the year award went to senior right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.) who led the Irish in scoring for the fourth consecutive season with 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points. Among his 13 goals were five-power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and a pair of game winners. A second team all-CCHA selection, the Irish team captain also was a finalist for the league’s top defensive forward award. Condra finishes his career ranked 13th on the all-time points list with 158 points on 48 goals and 110 assists. His 110 assists are the seventh most in the program’s history as he is just one of 10 Notre Dame players all-time to have 100 or more assists. He also finishes his career third all-time in games played (159), fifth in game winning goals (11) and tied for fourth with six short-handed goals. An outstanding student-athlete, Erik also is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award along with teammate Jordan Pearce.
The winner of the team’s Most Improved Player Award went to sophomore left wing Calle Ridderwall (Stockholm, Sweden). After scoring just seven points as a freshman, Ridderwall led Notre Dame with 17 goals and added 15 assists to finish second in points with 32 on the year. His 11 power-play goals were the ninth best single-season total and were second in the CCHA and fifth in the nation. An honorable mention all-CCHA selection, Ridderwall was named to the all-tournament team at the CCHA Championship after scoring a pair of goals in the championship game win over Michigan.
Sophomore Calle Ridderwall was named Notre Dame’s Most Improved Player for the 2008-09 season.
The Irish also honored former standout goaltender Bob McNamara `83 and current associate coach Andy Slaggert `89 with their Distinguished Alumni Award. They join past winners – Dave Bossy `77, Paul Regan `73, Brian Walsh `77, Phil Wittliff ’71 and Greg Meredith `89. A Toronto, Ont., native, McNamara was a four-year starter in goal for the Irish between 1979-83, making 84 starts with a career record of 36-44-4 with a 4.95 goals-against average and a .860 save percentage. From Notre Dame, he signed with the Buffalo Sabres and played three years with their AHL affiliate in Rochester. From there he moved on to the Milwaukee Admirals where he played two seasons, serving as player-coach in his final year. He got into the management end of hockey with the Cleveland Lumberjacks as assistant general manager for four seasons before being named the Director of Hockey Operations for the Grand Rapids Griffins on Jan. 26, 1996. Since then he has built the Griffins into one of the premier franchises in first the International Hockey League and now the American Hockey League. He was named the IHL General Manager of the Year in his first season in Grand Rapids. Now in his 13th year with the Griffins, his teams have won two AHL regular season titles and five division titles. This season, Grand Rapids is in second place in the AHL’s Western Conference North Division with a 42-22-6-6 record, good for 96 points and are preparing for the playoffs.
Slaggert has been associated with the Notre Dame hockey program since 1986 when he started as a player with the Irish. After three seasons as a player for both Lefty Smith and Ric Schafer, he got involved in coaching and returned to Notre Dame as an assistant coach in 1993. For the past 16 years he has been instrumental in bringing top talent to Notre Dame and continues to see more hockey games during a season than you can imagine. He has coached on the international level with USA Hockey and continues to be recognized as one of the top recruiters in college hockey. He remains the link to the history of the Notre Dame hockey program as he played for Coach Lefty Smith and Ric Schafer and has served as an assistant to Schafer, Dave Poulin and now Jeff Jackson.
Two Honorary Alumni Awards were presented this season with one going to Irish radio voice Mike Lockert and the other to equipment specialist Dave Gilbert. Lockert passed away suddenly on Feb. 27 after serving seven years as the “Voice of the Irish.” He was awarded his honorary alumni award on March 12 at a special memorial service held at the Joyce Center. Coach Jeff Jackson and captain Erik Condra presented his parents, William and Barbara Lockert, the award, a personalized team jersey that was later signed by the entire team.
Gilbert is in his 11th season as the equipment specialist for the Irish and is recognized as one of the best in the nation. A 1996 graduate of Lake Superior State, Gilbert was a walk-on goaltender for the Lakers and a member of their 1992 NCAA championship team coached by Jeff Jackson. A native of Marquette, Mich., Gilbert became a student manager and then the full-time equipment manager following his graduation. He joined Dave Poulin’s staff at Notre Dame in 1997 and has coordinated the teams’ equipment and travel needs since then.
The awards program also recognized the various weekly award winners for the Irish and those players who received end-of-the-year honors from the CCHA. Also, the six members of the hockey class of 2009 – Erik Condra, Christian Hanson (Venetia, Pa.), Luke Lucyk (Fox Point, Wis.), Jordan Pearce, Garrett Regan (Hastings, Minn.) and Justin White – were honored and with Condra, Pearce and White speaking to the crowd of over 300 in attendance. Hanson (Toronto), Lucyk (Charlotte in the ECHL) and Regan (Las Vegas in the ECHL) are currently playing professionally.