Senior defenseman Chris Berenguer of Hamline University has been chosen by the nation's coaches as the 2011 winner of the Sid Watson Award Award, symbolic of the nation's best Division III men's hockey player. The 6-1, 205-pound native of Eden Prairie, MN, helped Hamline to a 17-7-5 record and both the regular season and tournament titles of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). The Pipers finished the season with a 4-0 NCAA quarterfinal loss to St. Norbert last week after defeating Wisconsin-Superior in the opening round, 3-2 in OT.
Berenguer, the second straight MIAC Player of the Year to win this award, earned first team All-American honors for the third time this season. His four-year career marks: 37 goals and 79 assists for 116 points Said Hamline head coach Scott Bell in nominating Berenguer, "Chris Berenguer is the best player to ever put on the Hamline University sweater, and he is without question one of the best to ever play in the MIAC. He scores as well as any defenseman in college hockey, to be sure – his 32 points rank him third nationally and his 13 goals are second nationally among defensemen – but more importantly, he scores the big goals. None of his scoring prowess takes away from his play as a defensive defenseman. He is a rock in front of the net, and lugs the puck up the ice consistently and steadily.
"Chris embodies the D-3 spirit and philosophy. He is happily married to Nicole and has a beautiful daughter, Stella. His ability to balance hockey with academics and family has caught heartwarming conference and national press."
Berenguer signed a professional contract with the Trenton Devils of the East Coast Hockey League last week. The Devils are an affiliate of the NHL's New Jersey Devils.
The award is named in honor of former Bowdoin College head coach Sid Watson, a three-time winner of the Edward Jeremiah Award as Division III Coach of the Year. Watson won 326 at Bowdoin in a career that spanned from 1959 to 1983. He was also the school's athletic director.
The runner-up for the 2011 Sid Watson Award was B.J. O'Brien, a senior goaltender from St. Norbert College.
|Winners of the Sid Watson Award
AHCA Men’s Ice Hockey College Player of the Year
|1993||Frank Cirone||Wisconsin-Stevens Point||Forward|
|1999||Rob Smillie||St. Norbert||Forward|
|2000||Steve Aronson||St. Thomas||Forward|
|2003||Maris Ziedins||St. Norbert||Forward|
|2006||Adam Hanna||St. John's||Goalie|
|2008||Kyle Jones||St. Norbert||Goalie|
|2010||David Martinson||Gustavus Adolphus||Forward|