Conacher, two Sabres vie for spot on college hockey list
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 22, 2013 @ 11:14am
In honor of its 10th anniversary broadcasting college hockey games, CBS Sports Network has crafted a list of the 30 best college hockey players over the last decade and, through a fan voting, will determine the top 10.
Two current Buffalo Sabres—Thomas Vanek and Nathan Gerbe—are on the list, as is former Canisius College forward Cory Conacher. The competition is stiff, however, as notable NHL contributors like Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Jack Johnson and David Backes are all under consideration.
Dave Starman’s column for U.S. College Hockey Online—often referred to as USCHO—details the criteria for making the nominee list and elaborates a bit on the voting process.
While the fan voting has already closed, the Top-10 list will be announced later in the college hockey season. If you’re a Buffalover or college hockey buff, here are a few supporting facts for each of the three players with local ties:
Thomas Vanek: As a Minnesota Golden Gopher, Vanek tallied 113 points in 83 games—including eight game-winning goals—spanning a two-year college career. The current Sabres forward won team MVP honors as a freshman during the 2002-03 season when Minnesota won the national championship.
Nathan Gerbe: The NHL’s shortest player was a Hobey Baker Award finalist in 2007-08, the season where his Boston College Eagles won the national championship. Gerbe was named the Frozen Four’s most outstanding player by scoring five goals in the two-game span.
Cory Conacher: Conacher’s star is on the rise after scoring a goal and registering an assist in his NHL debut with Tampa Bay—he’s the most prolific scorer in Canisius history and was dubbed All-Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year in 2010. Although his rookie of the year designation in the AHL doesn’t count toward this “college hockey only” top 10 list, it’s still sweet.