November 1, 2014

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Minutemen hockey captain nominated for Hobey Baker Award

In order to be nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, one must show strength and character on and off the ice. One should not only display exceptional skill in all phases of the game, but also integrity to one’s team. One must also exhibit outstanding sportsmanship as well as scholastic achievement.

T.J. Syner has exemplified that.

The captain of the Massachusetts hockey team has been nominated for this prestigious award, given to college hockey’s player of the year.

As far as statistics go, Syner has definitely earned it.

The senior forward is the leading scorer for the Minutemen this season with 28 points (11 goals and 17 assists), which is good for sixth overall in the hockey east and 25th in all of division one college hockey.

Although Syner has been an effective player throughout his entire career at UMass, scoring a total of 35 goals, 53 assists and 88 points, this season, especially, has been one to remember for the Springfield, MA native as he has constantly found himself on the scoreboard for the Minutemen.

Consistent would be an understatement to describe Syner’s play this year as he has only failed to score four times in 24 total games. If that can’t be considered valuable enough, UMass has only won one of those four games, a 3-2 victory over Vermont at Fenway Park Jan. 7.

Syner has also had six multi-point games, including a two-goal performance in a pivotal, 4-0 win over then-No. 4 Boston College Jan. 13 and three assists in a 5-3 win over Bentley Oct. 14, and has a plus-minus ratio of plus 11.

Along with his on-ice accolades, Syner has also been named to the HEA All-Academic team twice.

Previous winners of the Hobey Baker award include Chris Drury (1998), a retired twelve-year National Hockey League veteran who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalnche in 2001, and also a former member of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. As well as 2010 Olympic hero Ryan Miller (2001), who led the United States national team to a silver medal and has also spent his eight-year career with the Sabres.

That’s some pretty good company to be in the same discussion with.

The selection process for the award begins with each division one hockey coach selecting three players from their conference, as well as the entire nation, as nominees for the award.

Those nominees are placed on a ballot that 58 coaches fill. From there, the top ten is determined.

The final process includes the determination of a winner out of the ten finalists by an official Selection Committee, which includes various media personnel, NHL scouts and other college hockey coaches across the country.

The winner will be announced from a field of three Hat Trick finalists on April 6.

Fans have the ability to vote for Syner on Umassathletics.com from now until March 15, the day the top ten will be announced.

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Canelas.

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