Former Waterloo Black Hawks forward Brock Boeser is a finalist for the National Hockey League’s Calder Trophy, presented annually to the NHL Rookie of the Year.
Skating in his first full season for the Vancouver Canucks, Boeser finished second among rookies in goals (29) and fifth in points (55) in 62 appearances; he missed the final 16 games because of a back injury on March 5th. If chosen for the award, Boeser would be the first Vancouver player since Pavel Bure in 1992 to win the Calder.
The Burnsville, Minnesota, native is only three seasons removed from playing for the Black Hawks in 2014/15. That year, he led Waterloo with 35 goals and 68 points. In between his time in the Cedar Valley and the Pacific Northwest, Boeser won a National Championship at the University of North Dakota in 2016.
Only one former Waterloo Black Hawk has won a comparably prestigious award at the NHL level. In 2008, forward Jason Blake was honored with the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is presented each year by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the “player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Blake had played through that winter at a high level following a leukemia diagnosis in the fall of 2007.
Auston Matthews and Gary Suter are the only USHL players who have gone on to win the Calder Trophy. Matthews, formerly of the U.S. National Team Development Program, won the award last spring, while Suter – at one time, a star for the Dubuque Fighting Saints – was the 1986 recipient.
The 2018 Calder Trophy winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20th. Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes are the other finalists.
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