On Thursday, March 30, Mike Vecchione ’17 was named one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (the “Hobey Baker Hat Trick”) by the Hobey Baker Award Committee. This is the first time that a Union player has been named as a finalist for this award. “It is a pretty special feeling,” according to Vecchione.
Furthermore, Vecchione stated, “there has been a number of great hockey players that have come through this program and have been up for the Hobey that I looked up to and even modeled my game after, so to be the first Union player to be named a finalist is a little shocking because of that. I’m extremely proud to represent Union.” Vecchione, from Saugus, MA is the senior captain and forward on Union’s Men’s Ice Hockey team. “It’s a tremendous honor to be mentioned in the Hobey Hat Trick along with two other elite players,” says Vecchione. “It has been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs to get to where I’m at, and I’m just happy it has paid off a bit.”
The Hobey Baker Award announcement is being made in Chicago, Illinois at Navy Pier during the NCAA Frozen Four. It is a free event that is open to the public. The Hobey Baker Award awarded annually to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s ice hockey player, and has been given out a total of 36 times. Vecchione is the Eastern College Athletic Conference, or ECAC, player of the year, and was a finalist for the Best Defensive Forward.
He was also named to the First Team All-Conference. “I can’t thank my family, friends, teammates, and coaches enough for helping me get to this point in my career,” says Vecchione. “We pride ourselves on team success leads to individual success and this is a perfect example of that, so I’m thankful for the boys because I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Vecchione has had the best statistical season in Union history, producing 29 goals and 63 points. He tied for first in Division I in points, after scoring 40 points, including a league-best 17 goals, as well as in points per game (1.66) and game-winning goals (seven). If Vecchione had to summarize this past season in one word, he would choose “resilient.” He made this choice because “this team was one of the most resilient and mentally tough teams I’ve ever been a part of. No matter what the score was or how much time was left in the game, we always found a way to tie it up late and then win the game.”
Vecchione added, “It was a special group of guys working together to win, and I am proud of every one of my teammates for the way they never quit. The resiliency and bounce-back this team had was the reason we had such a successful season and put Union back on the national stage.” Vecchione scored at least one point in 20 of the 22 league games and lead the conference with five goals. Two of these goals came during overtime.
Vecchione is also Union’s all-time leading scorer with 176 career points. He also placed second in program history in both career goals and assists, with 71 and 105 respectively. Vecchione states, “It has been an unbelievable four years at Union. I honestly couldn’t have had a better college experience. Union gave me everything I wanted plus more, on and off the ice.” Vecchione added, “I just want to thank the teachers, especially the history department, for everything they have done to work around our schedules and help me get my degree and pursue my dreams.”
The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday, April 7, 2017. It will be televised live at five p.m. CT, or six p.m. ET on the NHL Network and at www.hobeybaker.com. While in Chicago, Vecchione is “most looking forward to the Union faithful that will be in attendance. No matter where we go, our Union family always seems to be there which makes everything so special. Representing Union College means a great deal to me.” Vecchione added, “I left it all out there, on and off the ice, so I hope it was enough to come home with that trophy for the fans and students who have continued to support us through the thick and thin.”