Former Vernon Vipers forward Odeen Tuft, right, is one of 11 former B.C. Hockey League players nominated for NCAA Hockey’s biggest individual honour, the Hobey Baker Award. Tufto, from Minnesota, played the 2015-16 season with the Snakes. He’s now a senior and captain of the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden, Conn. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Former Vernon Vipers forward Odeen Tuft, right, is one of 11 former B.C. Hockey League players nominated for NCAA Hockey’s biggest individual honour, the Hobey Baker Award. Tufto, from Minnesota, played the 2015-16 season with the Snakes. He’s now a senior and captain of the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden, Conn. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Former Vernon Vipers star nominated for top college hockey award

Odeen Tufto of Quinnipiac University is one of 11 ex-BCHLers nominated for Hobey Baker Award

A former Vernon Viper is among the first batch of nominees for the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player.

Odeen Tufto is a senior forward with Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. He’s the Bobcats’ team captain and is leading the team in scoring with four goals and 24 assists for 28 points in 18 games played through Jan. 24.

Tufto, a native of Chaska, Minn., played the 2015-16 season with the Vipers. He appeared in 57 games, scoring 25 goals and adding 40 assists for 65 points. Tufto added three goals in a five-game playoff series loss to the Penticton Vees.

The Hobey Baker Award is based on the following criteria:

  • Strength of character, on and off the ice;
  • Contribution to the integrity of the team;
  • Outstanding skills in all phases of the game;
  • Scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.

There are 50 players nominated this year, including 11 former B.C. Hockey League players. Nominations were submitted by the athletic departments of the Division 1 schools with a maximum of three candidates from any one school.

The BCHL alums nominated for the award are:

Forwards

  • Ashton Calder – Junior – Lake Superior State University (Surrey Eagles);
  • Grant Cruikshank – Junior – Colorado College (Penticton Vees);
  • Jonny Evans – Junior – University of Connecticut (Powell River Kings);
  • Kent Johnson – Freshman – University of Michigan (Trail Smoke Eaters);
  • Jordan Kawaguchi – Senior – University of North Dakota (Chilliwack Chiefs);
  • Keaton Mastrodonato – Sophomore – Canisius College (Alberni Valley Bulldogs);
  • Ryan Steele – Junior – Sacred Heart University (Alberni Valley Bulldogs/West Kelowna Warriors);
  • Braeden Tuck – Sophomore – Sacred Heard University (Trail Smoke Eaters);
  • Odeen Tufto – Senior – Quinnipiac University (Vernon Vipers);
  • Taylor Ward – Junior – University of Nebraska-Omaha (Penticton Vees);

Goaltenders

  • Jack LaFontaine – Senior – University of Minnesota (Penticton Vees)

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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