The Michigan hockey team gathered for one last official meeting for the 2016-17 season at the Junge Family Center on Sunday. Surrounded by friends, family members, notable alumni and the Dekers Club, the Wolverines were honored with the program’s annual banquet.
The banquet was an awards ceremony for the team and a time to honor the roster’s six seniors — forwards Evan Allen, Max Shuart and Alex Kile, defensemen Nolan De Jong and Kevin Lohan and goaltender Zach Nagelvoort — and reflect on the previous season.
Michigan’s season ended in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament with a 13-19-3 overall record, and most speakers chose to focus on the future of the program rather than reflect on the past.
Michigan coach Red Berenson did not fail to acknowledge the team’s record, though, highlighting the improvement that would be necessary next season. Berenson, who has completed his 33rd season of coaching the Wolverines, did not comment on whether or not he would be returning as the head coach for the 2017-18 season.
He announced that a meeting with Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel would take place later to assess the coaching situation and determine the plan for next year.
The honors were awarded as follows:
Carl Isaacson Memorial Award for Academic Athlete of the Year — junior defenseman Sam Piazza
Piazza, a mechanical engineering major at the University, received academic All-Big Ten honors for the second season in a row. Piazza received the award for his performances on the ice and in the classroom.
Dekers Club Award for Most Colorful Rookie of the Year — freshman forward Will Lockwood
The Most Colorful Rookie of the Year award goes to the freshman on the team who has proven to have a prominent impact on the ice. Lockwood was chosen as the recipient out of the 11 freshmen on the roster.
Alton D. Simmons Award for Most Improved Player — senior forward Evan Allen
Allen received most improved honors after recording six goals and six assists in 28 games he played in this season. His 12 points tripled his output from last season, when he ended with four points in 24 games.
Howard Colby Award for Sportsman of the Year — junior defenseman Sam Piazza
In addition to academic honors, Piazza was also named to the Big Ten Sportsmanship team. Piazza received a Big Ten Honorable Mention this season while also serving as an assistant captain in senior defenseman Kevin Lohan’s absence.
Vic Heyliger Award for Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year — sophomore Joe Cecconi
Cecconi served on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the World Junior Champion team and won a gold medal in the championship. He also scored his first career goal versus Wisconsin and recorded seven assists this season.
Doc Losh Trophy for Scoring Leader of the Year — freshman forward Jake Slaker
Awarded to the top scorer for the season, the Don Losh Trophy went to Slaker. The freshman ended the season with seven goals and 14 assists over the course of 35 games to lead the team with 21 points.
Hal Downes Trophy for Most Valuable Player — freshman forward Will Lockwood
In addition to earning the Colorful Rookie of the Year award, Most Valuable Player honors went to Lockwood. Lockwood tallied eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points across 30 games. The freshman also scored in his college debut against Union.
Joseph E Barss Award for the True Team Player – senior goaltender Zach Nagelvoort
Chosen for his dedication to his team, Nagelvoort was awarded the True Team Player award. Nagelvoort was absent at the banquet, however, as he was playing with the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks in their win over the Wichita Thunder, 8-2, on Saturday.