The Boston College men's hockey program took one last chance to honor the graduating seniors of the class of 2015 yesterday at the annual awards dinner, hosted by the Pike's Peak Hockey Club at the Westin Hotel in Waltham. Supporters of the program had the opportunity to send off another class that brought a lot of hardware to the Heights, and honor players for their achievements on and off the ice.
One of the highlights of the annual event is the handing out of awards. This year's honorees:
Norman F. Dailey Most Valuable Player Award: Thatcher Demko
Thatcher Demko was the obvious choice for team MVP this season, playing through pain to guide the Eagles to an NCAA tournament appearance with his steady play between the pipes. Demko finished the season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.19 GAA. He also made multiple appearances on the Sportscenter Top 10 (that's a stat, right?). It was revealed at the banquet that Demko recently underwent his needed hip surgery and is hard at work preparing for 2015-16.
Bernie Burke Outstanding Freshman Award: Noah Hanifin
Once again, this was a pretty clear choice. Hanifin was an incredibly valuable part of the Eagles' second half surge into the tournament. His 23 points on the season were #6 on the team, but more impressively 16 of the 23 came after January 1, making him tied for the team lead in scoring after the New Year, tied with Alex Tuch, Ryan Fitzgerald and Adam Gilmour.
James Tiernan Most Improved Player Award: Cam Spiro
Cam Spiro completed a four year career at Boston College by having his best season in 2014-2015, finally emerging as a regular in the Eagles' lineup and providing much needed skill and speed. Spiro played in every game this season and the team was 6-2 when he recorded a point.
Snooks Kelley Award for the player who Best Typifies Boston College Hockey: Teddy Doherty and Quinn Smith
Doherty and Smith were co-winners of this year's award. Doherty was an incredibly versatile player for BC this year and extremely valuable for his two-way play. His leadership skills were apparent just watching on the ice and those skills were further validated in his election as captain for 2015-16. Quinn Smith, known on BC broadcasts as "The Human Cannonball" for his tendency to run over everything on the ice every shift, was an easy player to root for throughout his four years at BC due to his tenacity.
William J. Flynn Coaches Award: Michael Matheson
The Coaches Award is voted on by the coaching staff and presented by Jerry York. York and his team selected Mike Matheson, who leaves BC after three years to embark on a pro career with the Florida Panthers organization. York lauded Matheson's work ethic and example he set every day at practice. Matheson finished fourth on the team with 25 points this season.
Academic Excellence Award for Cumulative GPA: Michael Sit
Academic Achievement Award for Dedication and Improvement: Danny Linell
It was mentioned during the ceremony that Sit had a 4.0 GPA for at least one semester during his time at BC. Sit, a finance major in the school of management, won an ACC postgraduate scholarship to continue his studies in graduate school next year. Linell was not presence at the banquet due to recovery from surgery, but he was honored for his academic commitment and improvement over four years. Congratulations to both on these important honors.
With the banquet concluded, the curtain really has come down on 2014-15 and the countdown rolls on to October. If BC can get all their scheduled recruits to come to campus, and ensure that Noah Hanifin remains for his sophomore year, it should be a special group with the ability to do some real damage next year. Teddy Doherty set the tone in his speech by telling attendees he hoped to head to Tampa next season. Tampa will be the focus for the next year - let's hope that's where next season wraps up.