The Hobey Baker award is the most prestigious of individual awards in American Hockey History. It is given to an NCAA Hockey Player who displays strength of character on and off the ice, they’re also a key contributor in team integrity. Most of all, the player is recognized for their skill in all aspects of the beautiful game.
This past month, many players were revealed as nominees for the award. Merrimack this year has two in contention who have been a great influence on the team. Merrimack blew everyone away and exceeded pre-season expectations in both the Hockey East and National Rankings. MC has high hopes and a real chance at making the tournament and the hats have to go off to these two players.
#18 has been with the Warriors for 3 seasons and in his third he has surely stepped up. As a Senior and a captain he has a lot of responsibility he hasn’t shied away from. He’s been a huge part of the roster, right now being second in team points with 10 goals and 11 assists.
But the stats aren’t the only thing that tells the story, and Brar is a pure example of that. For a college player, his game emulates a professional level and would excel in the big leagues. He’s an amazing leader and isn’t afraid to get in your face if you mess with his teammates. In my experience watching hockey, I’ve rarely seen a captain stick up for his boys in the way Brar does.
If you watch the games you can tell the impact he has on the ice, Coach Borek knows it too; “Ben is one of the most consistent players that I have ever coached, day in and day out Ben just does the right things as a winning hockey player, teammate, and captain,” Borek continues, “he wins his 1 v 1 battles both offensively and defensively, and he has good finish in big moments.”
Brar himself kept his thoughts about it sweet and simple. “It’s a little recognition that the hard work I’ve put in over the course of time has been noticed,” says Brar, “I owe a lot of my success to my teammates as well as my linemates. Playing with guys like Forsmark and Calverley makes every game easy to play.”
Furthermore, Filip Forsmark enjoys playing with Ben as well. “He’s really smart and easy to play with and always makes good decisions on the ice. He’s a great scorer too and I know that he will score if I give him a good pass, I really enjoy playing with him.”
In his Junior year, #19 for the Warriors is without a doubt our best weapon. The Islanders 4th round pick from 2020 recently reached 31 points in just 27 games as he leads the team in the category. Along with that he averages a point a game.
From what the viewer can see there isn’t really a flaw in his offensive game which makes him so dangerous when he’s on the ice. His situational awareness gives him an edge and keeps him one step ahead of everyone. With this he’s able to make the right play and execute it effectively.
Coach Borek praises all the aspects that makes him an amazing player; “Alex is known for his production and his high skill level that gets him that production,” Borek compliments, “but what’s more impressive to me is how he has developed his 200 ft. game. He has become a factor both with and without the puck.”
His linemate Matt Copponi has nothing but praise for Jeffries. “He’s great, talent is through the roof and has continued to show he belongs with the best,” says Copponi, “His ability to possess and execute is at an elite level and it shows. He’s as good as anyone.”
Jeffries is having his best season yet at Merrimack. And it looks as if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello picked a good player in AJ19. No reason why he shouldn’t be a nominee to represent the blue and gold.
To conclude I’d like to quote Coach Borek again to wrap up this article that shines a light on two amazing hockey players. “I am happy for both Alex and Ben. Both are major parts of our team in every aspect. They work hard at their craft and it is not by accident that they are receiving this attention.” Right on Coach.