Buffalo, NY – The Hobey Baker Award is an annual award given to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Ice Hockey Player.  It is awarded to the NCAA player who best "exhibits strength of character both on and off the ice and contributes to the integrity of the team and displays outstanding skills in all phases of the game.”

As the college hockey season unfolds, four players with roots within the Buffalo Jr. Sabres have had remarkable performances to not only elevated their teams’ standings, but caught the attention of the Hobey Baker Award committee.  These four players are Matt Barbolini (Miami Ohio), Zach Bookman (Merrimack College), Ryan Conmy (University of New Hampshire), and Ben Kraws (St. Lawrence).

Matt Barobolini – Forward – Miami Ohio (BJS 2015-2017)

One of the leading contenders for the Honey Baker Award, Barbolini has been a force to be reckoned with on the offensive front.  Known for his exceptional stickhandling and goal-scoring prowess, Barbolini has consistently delivered clutch performances for the Red Hawks.  His ability to find the back of the net in crucial moments has not only bolstered the team’s offensive capabilities but has also solidified his status a s top candidate for the prestigious award. Through 21 games this season, the senior has scored 9 goals and added 12 assists.

Zach Bookman – Defense – Merrimack College (BJS 2017-2018)

Zach Bookman has proven that exceptional defensive play is just as worthy of recognition. Bookman’s ability to read the game, make crucial stops and contribute offensively from the blue line has set him apart as a standout defenseman for the Warriors.  Bookman’s leadership on and off the ice has been instrumental in the team’s success.  As a Hobey Baker candidate, Bookman’s well-rounded game showcases the importance of defensive prowess in the quest for individual honors.  In 28 games this season the sophomore defenseman has 3 goals and added 22 assists. 

Ryan Conmy – Forward – University of New Hampshire (BJS 2017-2020)

A true utility player, Conmy has showcased his versatility and tenacity throughout the season.  Whether it’s contributing on offense, backchecking with determination, or excelling in special teams situations, Conmy’s all-around game has bade him an invaluable asset at UNH.  Conmy’s work ethic and commitment to excellence have not gone unnoticed.  His ability to adapt to different rols on the team has provided his team with a reliable and dynamic player in various game situations.  In 22 games this season, Conmy has scored 12 goals and added 12 assists as a freshman.  He was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2023 NHL Draft

Ben Kraws – Goaltender – St. Lawrence (BJS 2015-2018)

In the realm of goaltending, Kraws has emerged as a standout performer for the Saints.  Kraws’ remarkable saves, calm demeanor under pressure, and ability to steal games for his team have elevated him to not only a candidate for this award but for the Mike Richter Award for NCAA’s top goaltender as well.  Kraws’ dedication to his craft and relentless work ethic have solidified his reputation as on of the top goaltenders in the country.  In 23 games this season, the graduate student has a goals against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .916.

As the Buffalo Jr. Sabres continue to make waves in the hockey world, the outstanding performances of these four alumni have not only contributed to organizational success but have also earned them well-deserved consideration as Hobey Baker Award Candidates.  The Buffalo hockey community eagerly awaits as the award field is narrowed down. 

To vote, visit: https://hobeybaker.com/awards/vote-for-hobey/