Four former Trail Smoke Eaters players have been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award.
The award is given to college hockey’s top player and is based on strength of character, on-ice performance and academic achievement.
This year, former Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson, Carson Briere, Braeden Tuck, and Max Newton made the initial list of nominees from NCAA Div. 1 hockey on Jan. 12, and were among 19 players nominated from the BCHL.
Port Moody product, Johnson, was drafted fifth overall this past summer to the Columbus Blue Jackets and named for the second straight year. Johnson, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, has already passed his point totals from his rookie year, tallying 28 points in 19 games. The 19-year-old forward was also part of Canada’s World Junior Team this past December scoring one goal in two games before the tournament was canceled.
Johnson played two seasons with the Smoke Eaters earning BCHL MVP award, first team All Star and Top Scorer in a prolific 2019-2020 season. He scored 101 points in 52 games and was also named Canadian Junior Hockey League Top Forward.
Carson Briere has once again made the list of nominees, as he got off to a hot start to open his sophomore season at Mercyhurst University. Briere, despite injuries, is second on his team with eight goals and 13 points in 12 games. Briere made headlines early in October for his four goal game against Holy Cross.
Former Smoke Eater captain, Braeden Tuck, was also named for the second consecutive year. Tuck attends Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and is in his third year of NCAA hockey, scoring seven goals and 13 points in 18 games.
The Calgary native played three seasons, 2016-19, in Trail, the last as captain. In all, Tuck scored 39 goals and 69 assists, while playing in 165 regular season games.
Finally, alumnus Max Newton, who was a Smoke Eater during the 2014-2016 seasons, earned his second nomination this year, receiving his first along with former Smoke Eater Nick Halloran in 2020.
The Vancouver product joined Merrimack after transferring schools from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks ahead of the 2020 season and is on pace for his best college hockey season yet. The 24-year-old forward has nine goals and 11 assists in 19 games.
Halloran, a Colorado native, was also nominated in 2018. Greater Trail products Jake Lucchini (Michigan Tech) was in the running for the 2019 Hobey Baker and twins Connor and Kellen Jones (Quinnipiac) were nominated for the 2014 honour..
Fans have the opportunity to vote for players at hobeybaker.com.
The first round of voting concludes on Mar. 6, when a list of 10 finalists will be revealed.