The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is extremely proud to announce that former Portage Terriers star and current University of Minnesota-Duluth forward Junior Lessard of St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Que. has been named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, honoring him as U. S. college hockey’s top player. Lessard won the Canadian Junior A Hockey League Player of the Year award in 1999 – 2000 when he played for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Portage Terriers.
Lessard, 23, led the all NCAA scorers with 30 goals and 31 points in 35 games this season, and helped the Bulldogs advance to the Frozen Four for the first time in 11 years. Minnesota Duluth lost to Denver 5-3 in a semifinal game Thursday night.
“I look at the Hobey Baker award as both an individual and a team award,” said Lessard, who was also the Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year. “I couldn’t have done this by myself. It’s a great honor.”
The other Hobey Baker finalists were Brown goalie Yann Danis of Saint-Jerome, Que., and forward Zach Parise of North Dakota.
Lessard, a six-foot, 195-pound senior and Bulldogs’ alternate captain, was the only finalist without a pro contract. “This is the culmination of all his hard work,” Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said. “To look at where Junior started and where he finished, I couldn’t be more proud.”
MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said, “The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is proud of its record of providing opportunities to young players to develop their talents and excel. The players that develop in the MJHL go on to make significant contributions to whatever programs they advance to. This fact separates the MJHL from all other Junior A Leagues in Canada.
For further information, please contact Kim Davis, Commissioner, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, 204-488-1227.