We're going to need a bigger trophy case.
Jerry York earned this year's Hockey East Coach of the Year award, honored last night at the league's annual Championship Awards night. To be honest, I was fully expecting Merrimack head coach (and BC alum) Mark Dennehy to come away with the award. It's rare that the best coach in the conference actually wins these awards, so it was nice to see York honored. York guided the Eagles to a 20-6-1 conference record this year. The 20-wins was a first since the league expanded to 27 games, and it's the first time a Hockey East team has won 20 games since Boston University achieved the feat in 1994.
It is only the second time that York has earned Hockey East Coach of the Year honors (2003-04), and just the third time the program has been home to the Hockey East Coach of the Year.
The league also named UNH's Paul Thompson as the 2011 Athletic Republic Player of the Year. I'm obviously biased, but I thought that BC's Cam Atkinson should have won the award over Thompson. Atkinson scored a league-best 24 goals this season, and BC left no doubt who was the better program after the Eagles' weekend sweep of the Wildcats in the final weekend of the regular season.
Atkinson was, however, honored as an unanimous First-Team All Hockey East selection, along with Brian Dumoulin. Atkinson and Dumoulin were joined by John Muse as the selection for First-Team goaltender. Brian Gibbons earned Second-Team Hockey East honors.
Forward Bill Arnold was honored as a All-Rookie team selection. Arnold currently has 10 goals and 9 assists in 36 games. In addition, Dumoulin won the Old Time Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman award, while Muse earned the Bauer Goaltending Champion award by posting a 1.84 GAA and a .933 save percentage, both career bests.
But enough with these individual awards. Let's finish strong and raise the Lamoriello Trophy tomorrow night.