April 8, 2011

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Hobey Baker announcement and acceptance speech

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Miami University senior forward Andy Miele made history Friday night as he became the first player in school history to win the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award, presented annually to the top player in college hockey. The announcement for the 31st annual Hobey Baker Award was aired live on ESPNU from the Xcel Energy Center as part of the NCAA's Frozen Four weekend.

"I'm so honored to receive the Hobey Baker Award on behalf of Miami University," Miele said in his acceptance speech. "As any hockey player knows there are many people to thank with any success that comes their way." Miele then recognized Miami President Dr. David Hodge, Athletic Director Brad Bates and the athletic department staff, the hockey support staff, his coaches and teammates and his family in his speech.

Miele (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.), who also garnered National Player of the Year from Inside College Hockey, earned AHCA First-Team West All-America, CCHA Player of the Year, First-Team All-CCHA, All-CCHA Tournament Team and CCHA Tournament MVP honors after leading the RedHawks to their first Mason Cup in school history. He led the NCAA with 71 points, 47 assists and a 1.82 points per game average playing in all 39 games this year while his 24 goals tied for 10th in the country. His 71 points were 11 more than anyone in the nation this year and the most since Colorado College's Peter Sejna totaled 82 points in 2002-03. Miele ranked second on Miami's single-season assists list this year and handed out the most helpers since 1978-79 while tying for second in single-season points at Miami, also the most since 1978-79.

Miele, an assistant captain for the `Hawks in 2010-11, captured the CCHA scoring title in a landslide, recording 56 points in league play, the most by any player since 1991-92. His 40 assists in CCHA play were also first and more than anyone else had points (the first time in CCHA history that's happened), as well as the most since 1996-97. His 16 goals in the CCHA tied for second in the league.

"At Miami we are known as The Brotherhood. It's not just a slogan but a way of life. It's our culture," Miele continued in his speech. "I wish I could have 24 copies of this trophy because all my brothers watching on TV deserve to share in this award equally. You know how much I love you to have that special bond we share."

Miele was twice named CCHA Player of the Month, earning it back-to-back in January and February, while also garnering Hockey Commissioners' Association National Player of the Month for February after a 4-8-12 scoring line in just six games. He was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week three times during the season, the only player in the conference to do so, and won Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week Oct. 25 after a nine-point weekend against Northern Michigan.

Miele finished the year with 22 multi-point games and a point in 33 of 39 games, including a school-record-tying 17-game point streak from Jan. 8 to March 19. He notched six of his goals on the power play and one short-handed while posting a +22 rating. In addition to his multi-point games, he had 15 multi-assist games after just nine his first three years combined while also logging four multi-goal games on the campaign. Of his 22 multi-point games, 10 were games of three or more points, including a career-high five points and four assists Oct. 23 against NMU. Miele notched at least four points five times, including three straight contests from Oct. 22-Oct. 29.

For his career, Miele finished sixth on Miami's points list with 159, seventh in career assists with 99 and is second in school history with 12 game-winning goals, including a team-best four this season.

"Andy is a special player and a special person," head coach Enrico Blasi said."His teammates are a special group of guys. When [Andy] says he wants to share it with his teammates, that's the truth. That's the way we've created our culture and our program."

In addition to his talents on the ice, Miele, an American studies major with a coaching minor, has been active in the community by helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity and spending time with local elementary school students. He and his teammates have also engaged with hockey fans and supporters on Skate with the `Hawks Night, provided instruction to members of the Junior RedHawks Kids Club and skated with the handicapped. This year, he was also involved with underprivileged children through the One Way Farm Children's Home in Fairfield, Ohio.

Miele signed an entry-level contract with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes last Saturday and reported for practice on Monday. He is not eligible to play in the playoffs, however.

Miele beat out Boston College junior forward Cam Atkinson and North Dakota senior forward Matt Frattin for the award, as they were also among the Hobey Hat Trick finalists. The winner was determined by the 23-member selection committee, which consists of coaches, media, NHL scouts and officials, and fan balloting, which counted for just one percent of the final vote. Criteria for the Hobey Baker Award includes strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.

For a list of all-time Hobey Baker Award winners, click here.