February 3, 2009

Backman Semi-Finalist For Brown Award

Feb. 3, 2009

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced today that Yale's Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) is one of 16 Division I hockey players picked as semi-finalists for the Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

The junior forward had two goals and four points in last weekend's wins over No. 9 Princeton and Quinnipiac at Ingalls Rink. He now leads the team in goals (13) and points (23). Backman, who has five multiple-goal games this winter, is ranked 10th in Division I with a .62 goals-per-game.

He was 2007 co-ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and a third-team all-league pick in 2008 (18-9-27). Backman has been team MVP the last two years. He has 49 goals and 81 points in 82 career games.

The other candidates include 11 players from Hockey East, four from ECAC Hockey and one from Atlantic Hockey. The slate comprises 12 forwards, one goalie, and three defensemen. Northeastern University, which did not have a semifinalist last year, boasts three in 2009 while Boston University has two. Four nominees, Boston College senior forward Benn Ferriero, Providence senior defenseman Matt Taormina, New Hampshire sophomore forward James van Riemsdyk, and Massachusetts sophomore forward James Marcou, were all semifinalists for last year's award, which was won by New Hampshire goalie Kevin Regan.

The only goaltender on the 2009 semifinalists' list is Brown University junior Dan Rosen, who was a semifinalist as a freshman two years ago. Defensemen on the list in addition to Taormina are Boston University senior Matt Gilroy and Northeastern senior Louis Liotti.

The remaining forwards from Hockey East schools are Northeastern seniors Ryan Ginand and Joe Vitale; BU senior Chris Higgins; UMass-Lowell junior Kory Falite; and Vermont senior Peter Lenes.

Other forwards from ECAC Hockey include Dartmouth sophomore Adam Estoclet and Quinnipiac senior David Marshall.

The lone nominee from Atlantic Hockey and the first ever from Bentley College is senior forward Dain Prewitt.

Commemorating the life and works of America's greatest sportsman, the Walter Brown Award is given annually to the outstanding American-born college hockey player in New England. The Walter Brown Award is the oldest nationally recognized honor accorded to individual players in the sport of American college hockey. Brown coached the United States to its first world hockey championship in 1933.

The U.S. team, the Massachusetts Rangers, comprised players from Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, and Boston Commerce High School. The Americans defeated the Toronto National Sea Fleas, coached by Harold Ballard, 2-1 in overtime in the final game of the 1933 World Tournament at Prague, Czechoslovakia. It was also America's first win over a team from Canada and the first loss ever suffered by the Canadians in international play.

The U.S. team members established the Walter Brown award at their 20th reunion in 1953. Criteria for the selection committee include leadership, character, sportsmanship, and ability as well as on-ice achievement. The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston has been the steward of the Walter Brown Award since 1977.