CCHA Player of The Year Joins Elite Group; Winner To Be Announced April 11

*2003 Hobey Hat Trick Release* PDF

Chris Kunitz
Chris Kunitz among three national finalists for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
Senior left wing Chris Kunitz (Regina, Saskatchewan), a member of the 2002-03 Ferris State University menís ice hockey team, has been named one of three national finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the nationís top collegiate player as announced today (April 2) by the Hobey Baker Award Committee. The three finalists were determined by the 25-member Selection Committee and fan voting.

Besides Kunitz, the Hobey Hat Trick list includes sophomore goaltender Dave LeNeveu of Cornell University and junior forward Peter Sejna of Colorado College.

With the honor, Kunitz holds the distinction of being the only Ferris skater in the programís history to advance among the nationís top three finalists. Former Bulldog teammate Rob Collins was named among the top 10 finalists for the 2001-02 season.

The Hobey Baker Award recipient will be announced on Friday, April 11, from the Hyatt Regency Hotel Ballroom in Buffalo, N.Y. during the NCAA Frozen Four weekend. The announcement will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net, starting at 2:30 p.m. (EDT). The annual Hobey Baker Award banquet will take place on Friday, April 25, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., with this yearís Hobey recipient honored along with this seasonís Legend of Hockey.

Kunitz was honored as the 2002-03 Central Collegiate Hockey Associationís (CCHA) Player of the Year and became the first Ferris skater to ever receive the award. A two-time (2001-02 and 2002-03 ) All-CCHA First-Team selection, Kunitz was both the CCHAís overall and league leader in points, goals and assists this season. The FSU assistant captain presently ranks second nationally in both points (1.88) and goals (0.83) per game while being listed third in assists (1.05) an outing.

A four-time CCHA Offensive Player of the Week selection (Oct. 21 & 28, Feb. 3 and March 3), Kunitz set a school single-season record with 79 points on 35 goals and 44 assists in 52 contests this campaign. His 35-goal output ranked second on the schoolís single-season leaders charts while his assist total represents the third best all-time production for a single campaign. He also was tops among the CCHAís overall plus/minus leaders with a school-best +47 rating and led the league in goal scoring for the second consecutive season. In this seasonís 28 league games, Kunitz totaled 51 points with 24 goals and 27 assists to go along with a +31 rating (third in the league). He compiled a career-high 24 multiple-point game performances this season, which included 13 multi-goal single-game efforts.

Kunitz, who was recognized twice (Oct. 29 and Feb. 4) this season as the U.S. College Hockey Onlineís (USCHO) Offensive Player of the Week, concluded his collegiate career ranked second among FSUís all-time goal scorers with 99 career tallies and was two shy of tying the school record. He accumulated 175 career points with 99 markers and 76 assists in 152 career games to tie for the sixth-highest scoring total in Bulldog history. The 6-0, 186-pound forward registered 48 career multiple-point games while scoring a school-record 19 game-winning goals during his four-year career.

This season, Kunitz was named to the all-tournament teams for the NCAA West Regional, the CCHA Super Six Championship, and the Connecticut Classic. He signed a contract with the National Hockey Leagueís Anaheim Mighty Ducks Tuesday (April 1).

ďChris is well deserving of being included in the Hobey Baker Hat Trick,Ē said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. ďAlthough itís heavy company, I believe Chris is at the forefront of the group. I donít believe any other player in the nation this season has meant more to the success of his team than Chris has to ours.Ē

Ferris State concluded the 2002-03 season with a 31-10-1 overall record, which represented the best mark ever in the programís 25-year NCAA Division I history. The Bulldogs also earned the distinction of being the first team to reach the 30-win plateau this season. FSU also claimed its first-ever CCHA Regular-Season title with a first-place 22-5-1 league mark and reached the championship game of the NCAA Championship Tournamentís West Regional in its first-ever NCAA Tourney appearance.

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