The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is presented to the top men’s collegiate hockey player in the United States. Award criteria include “strength of character on and off the ice, scholastic achievement and sportsmanship. He must also contribute to the integrity of his team while displaying outstanding skills in all facets of the game. ”
Let’s examine Nic Dowd’s qualifications for this award:
- Strength of Character on and off the ice – ✔
- Scholastic Achievement and Sportsmanship – ✔
- Contribute to the integrity of his Team – ✔
- Display Outstanding Skill in all Facets of the Game – ✔
The 6’2″ 196 pound native of Huntsville, Alabama didn’t take the easy route to get where is he is today – a senior captain on the St. Cloud State University hockey team. Not considered a hot-bed of hockey, Dowd did what most young players are required to do – leave Huntsville for opportunities in amateur hockey elsewhere. His first stop was the prestigious Culver Military Academy providing top academics and a competitive foundation for furthering his hockey ambitions. His next stop was the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL where in the 2008-09 season he produced 49 points and a ticket to the Indiana Ice of the USHL. An energetic player with a pro style 6’2″ frame and significant upside potential, Dowd was drafted #198 in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL entry draft by the LA Kings. He responded during the 2009-10 season with 39 points for the Indiana Ice as he focused his game for his next stop at SCSU.
Dowd was an immediate impact player for the Huskies in 2010-11 skating in 36 games and producing 18 points including 2 game winning goals. The 2011-12 season saw an increase in offensive production with 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points in 39 games. He further improved his offensive numbers last season with 39 points including 14 goals and an outstanding 5 game winning goals. Defensively he led the team with 47 blocked shots. A highly competitive player he is difficult to play against from a defensive standpoint as he uses his size, skating, reach and energetic style of play to neutralize his opponent. Yet, Dowd controls his physical play to limit his penalty time to under 1 minute per game on the average.
Academically, Dowd, a pre-veterinary major, is a three time WCHA All-Academic team selection and a three-time WCHA Scholar Athlete. Voted captain for his senior season, the well spoken Dowd is a natural leader and mentor for SCSU’s newest crew of first-year players. During the 2012-13 season Dowd received national attention for spearheading the commitment of several SCSU players in a “Locks of Love” sponsorship. This charity provides hairpieces for disadvantaged children suffering from hair loss due to a medical condition. He developed an almost cult following locally and nationally for his “flowing locks” and dynamic play on the ice. The ultimate team player, Dowd regularly donates his time to speak on behalf of his team to the community. Dowd was also 1 of 20 candidates named to the hockey category of the 2014 CLASS award. Recently Dowd was named one of 18 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. Dowd was also recently named to the NCHC All-Conference first team, NCHC Scholar-Athlete team and nominated for NCHC Player of the Year, NCHC Forward of the Year and NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year.
Dowd has continued in the 2013-14 season for the highly ranked SCSU Huskies as expected with strong defensive play and impressive season statistics. This multi-faceted player logs extensive minutes due to his inclusion on both the power play and penalty kill. His offensive numbers thus far include 22 goals and 18 assists for 40 points and +15 in 38 games. He’s picked up 5 game winning goals in 38 games, 2 short-handed goals and 10 power play goals. For his career Dowd has 52 goals and 69 assists for 121 points. He has 12 game winning goals in his career.
It could be that the cards are stacked against a school being awarded two consecutive Hobey Baker Award winners as Drew LeBlanc of SCSU was awarded this top collegiate honor in 2012-13. However, its going to be impossible to ignore NIc Dowd as a legitimate candidate if his early season success continues. Does he meet the award criteria? Absolutely. The only thing left to do in this writers opinion is to pile up the offensive numbers necessary to convince the 25 person selection committee. It’s early so stay tuned…
Note: The selection process allows each coach at the Division I level to cast their ballot for the top players in their conference and nationwide each March. These votes determine the Hobey Baker Top Ten announced mid-March. A 25 – person selection committe composed of coaches, supervisors of officials, NHL scouts, a representative of USA Hockey and print and media members from each region choose the Hobey Hat Trick and the final award winner is announced during the Frozen Four.
- St. Cloud’s Drew LeBlanc Wins Hobey Baker Memorial Award (bleacherreport.com)