Seven student-athletes were recognized at the Western Michigan University Hockey Awards Banquet held Saturday at the Fetzer Center. Head coach Jim Culhane and assistants Chris Brooks and Brendan Kenny presided over the ceremonies.
Senior right wing Brent Walton received the Rob Hodge Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight year. Walton led the Broncos in scoring (26 goals, 17 assists, 43 points) to capture the Vic Vanderberg Top Scorer Award and ranked in the top 10 in eight Central Collegiate Hockey Association statistical categories. Walton recently made his professional debut with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
Junior Ryan Mahrle was named the Neil Smith Most Valuable Defensemen for the second time. Mahrle placed ninth among CCHA defensemen in scoring (18 points), finishing third in team assists (16) and points. He also factored in two shutouts.
Freshman left wing Jeff LoVecchio earned the Suzanne Klop Rookie of the Year Award, topping first-year players with 18 points (7-11) in 40 contests. LoVecchio also received the Catherine Lawson Sportsmanship Award in voting conducted by his teammates.
Junior right wing Jason Moul and freshman defenseman Steve Silver were named co-recipients of the Ed Edwards Most Improved Player Award. Moul registered a career-high for points in a season, scoring four goals during a six-game stretch. He provided the game-winning goal versus Bemidji State (Feb. 11) and delivered a body check at Michigan that was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter. For his efforts, Moul was also presented the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) Grinder Award for Perseverance.
Silver became a regular in the lineup the last 17 games and registered a -1 plus/minus rating to share the Bill Saunders Plus/Minus Award with fellow freshman Sean Weaver. Weaver appeared in 28 contests and saw action on WMU's top line.
Junior right wing Brett John (pictured) received the Peter R. Ellis Academic Award for posting the highest grade-point average during the past year. John carries a cumulative 3.98 GPA as an accounting major.