Two former Trail Smoke Eaters are up for U.S. hockey’s most prestigious honour, the Hobey Baker Award.
The Hobey Baker trophy is given to the top NCAA hockey player and, this year, both Nick Halloran from Colorado College and Max Newton from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks are two of 79 nominees.
Newton, a Vancouver native, played two seasons, 2014-16, with the Smoke Eaters before being traded to the Cowichan Valley Capitals in June 2016 for Carter Cochrane and Luke Santerno.
The talented forward played in 95 games with Trail scoring 22 goals and 64 points, and tallied 25 goals and 59 points in his final year in the BCHL with Cowichan Valley Capitals. Newton is in his Junior year at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and has six goals and 16 points in 26 games with the Nanooks.
Halloran, a Draper, Utah native, spent one season with the Smoke Eaters in 2015-16 and tallied 21 goals and 45 points in 53 games before heading to Colorado College.
The 22-year-old forward also made the Hobey Baker list during a stellar 2017-18 sophomore season at Colorado College. He was a second-team all-American and finished tied for 15th in the country in points (19 goals, 26 assists) but did not make it to the Hobey Baker top 10.
A hip injury ended his season prematurely in January 2019, but returned to action this year ready to make an impact. Halloran is second in team-scoring with seven goals and 13 assists this season.
A total of 18 BCHL alumni were nominated for the annual award given to the player that most exemplifies: strength of character, on and off the ice, contribution to the integrity of the team and outstanding skills in all phases of the game, Scholastic achievement and sportsmanship, and compliance with all NCAA rules, including being a full-time student in an accredited college or university and completing 50 percent or more of the season.
Greater Trail players Jake Lucchini (Michigan Tech) was in the running for last year’s Hobey Baker and twins Connor and Kellen Jones (Quinnipiac) were nominated for the 2014 honour. Lucchini is currently playing in the American Hockey League with the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins, while the Jones twins were reunited in Switzerland this season with HC Thurgau.
Last year’s Hobey Baker winner was UMass defenceman Cale Makar, who has gone on to be one of the most impressive rookies in the NHL this season with the Colorado Avalanche.
The Hobey Fan Vote will once again be part of Phase I of the selection process for the Hobey Baker. The list of players will be narrowed to a Top-10 and then Phase II voting on the Top-10 will take place March 19-29.
The Hobey Hat Trick will be announced on April 2 and the Hobey Baker Memorial Award presented to the winner on April 10 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Detroit, Mich.