OXFORD, Ohio – For the final time this season, the 2012-13 Miami University hockey team came together with family, friends and fans, as the program held its annual Night of Celebration banquet Saturday evening at the Shriver Center on Miami’s campus. The year-end event, which honored six RedHawk seniors and saw 10 awards handed out, was sponsored by the Blue Line Club.
The evening opened with a social half hour and silent auction, during which fans bid on lots of memorabilia, including autographed jerseys, sticks and pictures. Following a delicious buffet dinner, a highlight video of the 2012-13 season was shown while the presentation of the awards followed. Miami Director of Athletics David Sayler shared his remarks on the season at the beginning of the banquet, while freshman Kevin Morris delivered the invocation prior to dinner.
Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich.) took home two awards, headlined by winning the Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player Award. He also collected the Bill Davidge Outstanding Offensive Player Award Saturday, while he earned the Dr. Phillip Shriver Rookie of the Year Award last year. The undrafted center was a Hobey Baker Award finalist this season, also garnering CCHA Player of the Year and First-Team West All-America honors. Czarnik played in all 42 games this season, leading the team with 26 assists and 40 points, while he was second with 14 goals. He garnered First-Team All-CCHA accolades while posting a +19 rating and leading the NCAA with four short-handed goals. Czarnik is the third sophomore to be named the team’s MVP in the last five years, joining Carter Camper (’11) in 2008-09 and Cody Reichard (’12) in 2009-10.
Senior captain Steven Spinell (Vernon Hills, Ill.) earned three awards, including the Berry Family Outstanding Senior Award and the Mitch Korn Outstanding Defensive Player Award, the second straight year he received Outstanding Defensive Player. The bruising defenseman appeared in 40 games, playing on Miami’s top defensive pair and top penalty kill unit, as the RedHawk defense ranked second nationally while the penalty kill ranked sixth in the country. He totaled 13 points while blocking 72 shots (second on the team) and compiling a +15 rating. The lone captain on the team, Spinell earned First-Team Senior CLASS Award All-America and was named to the NCAA All-Midwest Regional Team this year, as well.
Spinell and classmate Steve Mason received the Scholar Athlete Award. Spinell, who was also named to the CCHA Scholar-Athlete Team, carries a 3.26 grade-point average while majoring in finance. Mason, a forward from Tilburg, Netherlands, has a 3.37 GPA while majoring in interdisciplinary business management. Both will graduate this spring.
Freshman forward Riley Barber (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was named the Dr. Phillip Shriver Rookie of the Year, the lone rookie to take home hardware Saturday. The Washington Capitals prospect was second on the team with 39 points (behind Czarnik), including a team-best 15 goals, leading the nation among freshmen in points. He also earned CCHA Rookie of the Year, First-Team All-CCHA, unanimous CCHA All-Rookie Team and College Hockey News All-Rookie Team honors for his efforts.
In addition to Spinell and Mason, the four other seniors also collected hardware. Defenseman Garrett Kennedy (Brighton, Mich.) garnered the Steve Cady Most Improved Player Award after playing in 35 of 42 games this year while ranking third on the team with 68 blocked shots. Kennedy played in a total of 38 games during his first three years in Oxford. Forward Marc Hagel (Hamilton, Ont.) was chosen for the Tom Brown Unsung Hero Award after playing in all 42 games in his lone year in Oxford. The transfer from Princeton, who served as the Tigers’ captain last year, totaled 19 points as a RedHawk, including six goals, while earning his master’s degree at Miami in political science. He was also a mainstay on the penalty kill, blocking 44 shots.
Seniors Joe Hartman (St. Cloud, Minn.) and Curtis McKenzie (Golden, B.C.) shared the George Gwozdecky Blue Line Club Award. Hartman was a steady defenseman for the RedHawks all four seasons, playing in 158 career games, including 36 this year, while totaling 35 career points. McKenzie, who inked a contract with the Dallas Stars last week, also played in 158 career games, which ties for eighth in school history. The punishing forward finished with 80 career points, including 24 this season, which was third on the team. Both will graduate this year, as well, with degrees from Miami’s Farmer School of Business.
Miami also gave out the Jim Grant “7th Player” Award to Dr. Ed Freedberg. Freedberg helped the team this year with the development of mental training skills and achieving optimal performance. He proved to be an asset to the program as he worked closely with the players and coaches in a variety of ways throughout the season. A highly educated clinical psychologist and author, he has also worked with numerous NHL teams though this was his first year working with Miami.
Following the awards portion of the program, Kennedy, Hartman and Spinell all reflected on their time as a RedHawk with their senior speeches. Hagel, Mason and McKenzie were unable to attend the banquet as Hagel is playing in the AHL for the Lake Erie Monsters, Mason is representing his native Netherlands in the World Championships, and McKenzie is also in the AHL with the Texas Stars.
Head coach Enrico Blasi, the 2012-13 CCHA Coach of the Year, concluded the Night of Celebration with his thoughts on another successful year while thanking everyone involved in the program. A video tribute to the six seniors was also shown toward the conclusion of the evening. All of the award winners were selected by their teammates as the awards were voted on by the players.
The RedHawks finished with a record of 25-12-5 this season while winning the program’s fourth CCHA regular-season championship in the final year of the CCHA. Miami also made the NCAA Midwest Regional Final while making its eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and earning its eighth NCAA Tournament win in program history.
Miami will begin a new era next season when the RedHawks start play in the newly founded National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Miami will play in the first ever NCHC game against fellow founding member North Dakota on Oct. 18 at Steve Cady Arena. The RedHawks open the 2013-14 season Oct. 11-12 with a home-and-home series against in-state rival Ohio State, meeting in Oxford Oct. 12.
Jim Grant “7th Player” Award – Dr. Ed Freedberg
George Gwozdecky Blue Line Club Award – Joe Hartman and Curtis McKenzie
Scholar Athlete Award – Steve Mason and Steven Spinell
Tom Brown Unsung Hero Award – Marc Hagel
Dr. Phillip Shriver Rookie of the Year – Riley Barber
Mitch Korn Outstanding Defensive Player – Steven Spinell
Steve Cady Most Improved Player – Garrett Kennedy
Berry Family Outstanding Senior Award – Steven Spinell
Bill Davidge Outstanding Offensive Player – Austin Czarnik
Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player – Austin Czarnik