Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vote for Jesse Newman! (Hobey Baker or Skills Challenge)

Thanks to a comment on our recent Smokies alumni update I've discovered that former Smoke Eater Jesse Newman has made it through to the initial stages of Hobey Baker Award voting. Of course based on what I see at that link it seems like 3000 other players are also on the list. I exaggerate of course as it's a tremendous honour for Jesse to be considered among the NCAA's elite. It also shows how much he has elevated his game this season.

Unlike his steady evolution with the Smokies (from 44 to 62 points in three seasons), Newman kind of seemed to be treading water in his first few seasons with R.I.T. He put up 13 points in his first year and followed that with consecutive 10 point seasons. From stats alone it would have appeared that Newman had hit his peak as a college player early. This season seems to throw that idea out the window. Newman has 8 goals and 16 assists in 27 games. An impressive total that includes 2 shorthanded gaols. However, I should note that Jesse is only fourth in team scoring behind two high powered defensemen and LW Brennan Sarazin. I think he'd probably have to go on a real tear in order to have even a remote shot at actually winning the Hobey Baker.

That being said, it's got to be special for the West Kelowna (seems weird saying that doesn't it?) native to be considered among the best players in college hockey today. This season has been a big step forward for Newman, and perhaps puts him in position to earn some looks in the pro ranks once the year is done. Congratulations Jesse! I never got to see him play, but I'm sure all the folks in Trail are happy for him.

If you want to help his cause out you can vote at the Hobey Baker Award site. Just note that this isn't really a popularity contest as, "The fans’ vote accounts for a full 1% of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year’s award recipient."

Your support may not swing the thing his way, but it sure couldn't hurt! Another way you could probably have more of an impact in helping Jesse out would be to vote for him to get into the 2009 Frozen Four Skills Challenge. Newman is one of 68 players eligible to compete in that event on April 10th in Washington, D.C. Your vote could help make him one of the 16 that makes it through to the event itself. For more details you can check out this article at the R.I.T. website. Help him out! You can also vote for Chris Higgins in the same Men's East category. Goodness I knew he was having a rough season in Montreal, but I didn't realize it was bad enough that he went back to college...

By the way, I was also told in that comment that R.I.T. goaltender Louis Menard played some goal for the Smokies. Can anyone confirm that? I can't find his name associated with Trail on the BCHL site or the Smokies site in any previous seasons, but if a guy is moved in and out within the season it's hard to find a record of it. If he did that shows how small a world it is. Menard was the goaltender for the CJHL's Ottawa Junior Senators in the first hockey game I ever called (unless you count video games) as a play by play broadcaster back when I was in school at Algonquin College.

For those who remember those teams, how good was Jesse in the BCHL? He appears right now to be among the top performing Smokies alumni. Does that surprise you or did you always imagine he would have a lot of success after leaving the BCHL? The thoughts of long time Trail and BCHL fans here would be interesting and appreciated.

(Jesse Newman from the R.I.T. website)

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