The Rhode Island Interscholastic Hockey Coaches Association in conjunction with the Hobey Baker Foundation will host the ninth annual Hobey Baker High School Character Award program in Rhode Island. The awards are given annually to one high school senior from each participating boys/girls hockey program in the state. The award recognizes and rewards student-athletes for displaying exemplary character and sportsmanship in their schools and communities.
The Warwick winners are Liam Watkinson from Bishop Hendricken, Joseph Paliotte from Pilgrim, David Stachurski from Toll Gate, Michael Palumbo from Warwick Vets and Jaime Given from the Warwick girls’ team.
The Hobey Baker High School Character Award is an extension of the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award given annually to the nation’s top collegiate ice hockey player.
Hockey coaches from schools across the state have selected one member of their team to receive this honor. Selected students exemplify the spirit, sportsmanship and character represented by the collegiate award through their attitude, work ethic, unselfishness and “coachability.”
In Hobey Baker’s senior year at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., his team handed Princeton its only hockey loss that year and yet when he later attended Princeton, he would captain and lead them to a pair of national hockey championships.
In football, he was a punt return specialist and he never fumbled a punt. Against Yale one year, he had 13 punt returns, a school record, not to mention that he scored all the points in the next two games with Yale – all field goals, one of which was for 43 yards. This was in a time that equipment was poor at best and conditioning programs were nonexistent. As captain in his junior year, he scored 92 points. His scoring marks in football stood for almost half a century.
Wherever he went, they won.
On the ice, Baker’s ability, as great as it was, was topped by his sportsmanship and he is perhaps known for this more than his playing skills. He was always counted on to visit the opposition’s locker room after every game, shake every player’s hand and congratulate him on a fine game, regardless of who won.
Between St. Paul’s, Princeton and some amateur hockey in 55 games, he amassed 120 goals and 100 assists, averaging four points per game, and never missed a game or a shift on the ice. In his six years of playing, he was only penalized once, for slashing against Harvard. At Princeton, the ice arena is named after him and at St Paul’s School they compete every year for an award simply known as “Hobey’s Stick”.
Consider this: Hobey Baker is a charter member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame and is one of a handful of Americans to be elected into the Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame. At Princeton, he captained both Football and Hockey teams and is also a member of Princeton’s Hall of Fame for Hockey and Football.
Hobey Baker was considered to be the greatest hockey player of his era and also the first American super star hockey player. At age 26, he died while piloting a newly repaired airplane in France. Ironically, his orders to return home were found tucked inside his jacket.
“The spirit of the 2013 Hobey Baker High School Character Award is to acknowledge that it takes more than hockey skill to develop great student – athletes and the development of exemplary Character and Sportsmanship in our high school hockey players is a vitally important aspect of the student-athlete experience,” said Joe Judge, R.I. State Director of the Hobey Baker Character Award Program.
Assistant Director, Jack Judge added, “We are honored to participate in this important award and recognize these outstanding high school student hockey players in Rhode Island.”
“We are very grateful to the RI Interscholastic Hockey Coaches Association and the efforts of Jack Judge & Joe Judge to continue to make this award program a reality for Rhode Island,” said Gary Wahman of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation. “The development and recognition of exemplary character and sportsmanship in our high school players is an extremely important aspect of the student-athlete experience. We believe that character builds excellence”.
The RI Boys and Girls Team High School Character Award recipients were recognized during the Providence Bruins Hockey games on March 2 and 9, 2014, respectively.
On March 19, the 2014 at 3:45 p.m. the 2014 Award Recipients will be welcomed in the Rhode Island State House with introduction and individual recognition from the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives, followed by reception with Governor Lincoln Chafee.
Other Rhode Island boys league winners are: Brett Fay, Barrington; Tyler Gautreau, Burrillville; Bobby Beaudoin, Coventry; Anthony Simeone, Cranston West; Jamie Casilli, Cumberland; Pierre Genest, East Greenwich; Joshua Letendre, East Providence; Stephen Morrison, Johnston/North Providence co-op; Matthew Fox, La Salle Academy; Joshua Hayes, Lincoln; Michael Curtis, Middletown; Brian Larence, Mount St. Charles Academy; Ross Hogan, Mt. Hope; Thomas Adamo, Narragansett; Liam Rial, North Kingstown; Dylan Narodowy, North Smithfield; Laurie Mazza, PCD/Wheeler/St. Rays co-op; Eric Maynard, Ponaganset; Ryan Goulart, Portsmouth; Liam Leys, Rogers/Tiverton/ Rocky Hill co-op; Craig Page, Scituate/Tolman co-op; Patrick Simons, Smithfield; Chad Mitchell, South Kingstown; Jacob Rondeau, The Prout School; Domenic Kiers, West Warwick/Exeter West Greenwich; Chance Boucher, Woonsocket.
Girls’ winners are: Devan Miller, Bay View Academy; Sophie Faxon, Barrington/Mt. Hope/Portsmouth co-op; Emily Cardon, Burrillville/Ponaganset co-op; Abbey Torres, Cranston co-op; Emily Coughlin, LaSalle Academy; Lauren Hervieux, Lincoln/Cumberland co-op; Brianna Castro, Mount St. Charles Academy; Vanessa Paiva, Narragansett/N Kingstown/S Kingstown co-op; Alexandra Gould, Smithfield/North Smithfield/Coventry co-op.