Hicksville-Native Vies For College Hockey’s Highest Honor

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Nick Hutchison

Nick Hutchison may be a native of Hicksville, but given the amount of hockey he’s played throughout his 24 years, he may as well have been born in Canada.
Currently a senior at Buffalo’s Canisius College, the sports management major is wrapping up his prestigious four-year hockey career at the school, having racked up a number of honors as a member of the Golden Griffins. He’s one of 75-plus nominees for the 2020 Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the NCAA’s top hockey player.
Nominations are submitted by the athletic departments of the Division I men’s hockey schools with a maximum of three candidates from any one school. Fans can vote once a day for their favorite player until midnight of March 9. College hockey fans can also vote online and be an important factor in the balloting outcome. Price Waterhouse Coopers tabulates the votes and the top-10 candidates are announced.
The final phase is the narrowing down to what is known as the Hobey Hat Trick, in which the field is narrowed down to three by a geographically-balanced group of 29 individuals representing print and electronic sports media, college hockey coaches and officials, and NHL scouts. Further fan voting is also a factor.
Among the fellow Long Islanders who’ve recently been in contention for the Hobey Baker Award is current New York Rangers defenseman and Jericho native Adam Fox, who placed in the top three last year while attending Harvard. Ex-Rangers d-liner Matt Gilroy, who hails from North Bellmore, won it in 2009 while attending Boston University and like Hutchison, is an alum of St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset.
Having spent his freshman through junior years at St. Mary’s, Hutchison graduated from a high school in Kearney, NE after lacing ‘em up for the Tri-City Storm, a Tier 1 junior ice hockey team that counts St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz as a former player. But it was during Hutchison’s junior year at St. Mary’s where he experienced a taste of fame as a member of the Long Island Royals. The 16-U junior hockey team coached by ex-NHL players Pat LaFontaine and Steve Webb not only won a national championship in 2009, but were also the subject of a weekly NHL Network reality show called Making a Royal. It wound up being a pretty wild ride for Hutchison.
“We were a highly ranked team and it’s something I’ll never forget,” he said. “Being on a Long Island team that won a national championship—I don’t know the exact number of hockey teams that have done it, but that’s definitely something pretty special that I know every guy on that team remembers to this day.”
As for his own approach, the Hicksville native tries to keep it straight down the middle.
“Being an older guy and a leader for these 10 freshmen/underclassmen, you never try to get too high or too low. You’re just trying to keep that even middle and trying to excel every day,” he said. “I’m ready to make the final push here, trying to get the best seed possible and win our league championship.”
Visit www.hobeybaker.com/vote to see Nick Hutchison’s profile and those of the other nominees.

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In addition to being editor of Hicksville News and Massapequa Observer, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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