May 6, 2009
The annual Yale Men's Hockey Team Banquet took place last night at the Course at Yale and was more of a championship celebration than a season-ending dinner. More than 100 people filled Widdy's Grill Room to share in the festivities associated with the best season in the history of Yale hockey.
The Bulldogs checked off their first three, top-priority goals in 2008-09. Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, and his troops captured the Ivy League title and ECAC Hockey regular season championship before taking the school's first ECAC Tournament Title. The Blue advanced to its first NCAA Tournament in 11 years and played before a sellout crowd at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Brideport.
Yale's new captain, Ryan Donald, spoke to the team for the first time and thanked the seniors for their leadership and hard work. He also brought up an interesting anecdote relating to the celebrations. The junior defenseman cited an email from team strength coach Joe Maher that mentioned how it was great to celebrate everything that happened in 2008-09 but "nothing has been accomplished in 2009-10." The message was that last year's accomplishments won't help the team win games next season and that serious preparation for next season, especially in the weight room, begins now.
Allain (5139-7), who has reached the 50-win plateau faster than any coach in Yale hockey history, reflected on the season, thanked everyone involved with the operations of the team and the rink and spoke about the famous January pond hockey outing that took place a slapshot away from the room the banquet was held.
The finishing touch on the night was the spectacular season highlight video produced by David Dikranian. The players and guests cheered and laughed at big plays and hits and funny moments in the video.
Seven annual Yale Hockey Association individual awards were handed out Tuesday night. Alec Richards, the senior goalie who broke numerous records this season, won the Murray Murdoch Award as the team's most valuable player. Freshman forward Brian O'Neill earned the Martin Dwyer III Award as Yale's top rookie.
YHA members Greg Wiber '74, Paul Farren '66, Daryl Jones '98, Keith McCullough '99, Jim MacDonald '78 and association president Bill Matthews '90 handed out the awards and commented on each recipient's accomplishments.
Here are the awards, the descriptions and the recipients.
YALE HOCKEY AWARDS
Martin Dwyer III Award- Presented by the YHA to the most outstanding first-year player of the Yale hockey team. (Brian O'Neill)
John Poinier Award- Presented by the YHA to the best defensive player on the Yale hockey team. (Jimmy Martin)
Yale Hockey Coaches Award- Presented to that member of the Yale Hockey team whose determination and desire have contributed most to team morale and the spirit of hockey at Yale. (Ryan Donald)
David C. Noyes III Award- Presented by the YHA to that member of the Yale hockey team whose performance and attitude has most inspired his teammates through determination, grit and courage. (Brendan Mason)
J. Murray Murdoch Award- Presented by the YHA to that member of the Yale hockey team deemed the most valuable player. (Alec Richards)
Edward M. Wright, M.D. Award- For athletic and academic accomplishments, leadership and dedication to the higher purposes of intercollegiate athletics. This award is based equally on two factors: success on the ice and success in the classroom. (Tom Dignard)
Malcom G. Chace Award- Presented by the YHA to that member of the Yale hockey team who, through sportsmanship, spirit, and ability, has best served the finest traditions of Yale hockey as exemplified by Malcom G. Chace. (Matt Nelson)
Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director