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Wild Alumnus Vanderbeck Nominated For Hobey Baker Award


MARQUETTE, Mich. – After leading the Wenatchee Wild to the top of the British Columbia Hockey League during his time in junior hockey, Wild alumnus A.J. Vanderbeck is officially in the running for college hockey’s top honor.

Vanderbeck has been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is awarded annually to the top player in NCAA hockey. The senior captain and Monument, Colorado native is one of 82 initial nominees for the award, representing 43 different NCAA programs. 10 finalists for the award will be announced on March 15, and three will remain in the running when the award is presented April 7, during NCAA Frozen Four weekend.

The Northern Michigan University forward is one of the most decorated players in Wild history, spending the last two years of a four-year junior hockey career in Wenatchee and posting 76 goals and 52 assists over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns. His 128 career points ranks second on the team’s all-time scoring leaderboard, while his 76 goals remains a Wenatchee record. His 62 regular-season points and 36 postseason points in 2017-18 helped the Wild capture the BCHL Fred Page Cup championship and eventually reach the semifinals of the RBC Cup, Canada’s Junior “A” national tournament.

His 27 points this season for the Wildcats ranks second in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and a six-goal, 13-point run through October helped him start off his season with the CCHA Forward of the Month award. He also remains atop the nation in shots on goal going into the final weekend of January.

Fans can take part in an online vote at through midnight on Sunday, March 5, and a second round of fan voting will be held among the 10 finalists from March 17 to 26.

The award was established in 1981 and is named for Hockey Hall of Famer Hobey Baker, who excelled for Princeton University in both hockey and football during the 1910s before perishing in an airplane crash in France shortly after World War I. Baker remains the only person ever enshrined in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.