Alumni news continues to roll in for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, with two former ‘Backs skaters making the cut as finalists for a prestigious hockey award.
The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is presented annually to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player, based on judge’s selections and a public vote. Named after Hobey Baker, a pioneer in varsity hockey who died during the First World War, the award is given based not only on player skill, but the sportsmanship, leadership and community involvement of a player.
The top 10 finalists were announced March 20 for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, and a pair of former Silverbacks are among those lucky few who have made it this far. Taro Hirose, playing with Michigan State University, and Quinnipiac University captain Chase Priskie both made it through the initial rounds of vetting, moving on to a public vote to decide the winner.
Hirose spent two seasons with the Silverbacks, scoring 121 points in 116 games and being named rookie of the year and alternate captain. With the Michigan State Spartans, the forward had 116 points in 106 games and this season he led the NCAA in goals (15), assists (35), and points (50). He was named the Big 10 Player of the Year on March 19, and that very same night also made his NHL debut, playing with the Detroit Red Wings where he had one assist in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Hirose was involved in 75 per cent of the Spartans’ game winning goals this season.
Priskie was a Silverback for one season, where he tallied 20 points in 57 games. A fourth-year player for Quinnipiac, the defenceman gathered 116 points in 152 total games for the Bobcats. This season, in his second tenure as team captain, Priskie scored 17 goals, leading all NCAA defencemen, and his 39 total points had him in fifth overall. He was also selected as a sixth-round draft pick for the Washington Capitals, though currently remains unsigned.
Silverbacks fans can cast their vote for Priskie or Hirose to receive the Hobey Baker Memorial Award by visiting www.HobeyBaker.com/vote.