Although this year was far better for the men’s hockey team than last, perhaps no one had quite the bounce back season that junior Aapeli Räsänen did, earning him BCI’s Male Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
After scoring 7 points in 33 games last season, he more than tripled that this year, scoring a career-high 24 points in 34 games. He had six multi-point games this season, highlighted by a four point showing at UConn in November during which he also notched his first career hat trick.
In addition to drastically improving his point production this season, Räsänen also solidified himself as a team player, seamlessly sliding up and down the lineup and offering consistency regardless of the role he played. Most notably, he also offered to sit out the senior night game so that fellow teammate and senior Mike Merulla could play. While Merulla was able to dress for the night, a gesture like that did not go unnoticed as it was highlighted by Coach York in his postgame presser.
Räsänen won this vote over teammate Jack McBain, football’s David Bailey and Brandon Sebastian, and men’s basketball’s Steffon Mitchell.