University of Michigan freshman forward Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Michigan) has been named the recipient of the 2016 Tim Taylor Award, bestowed annually upon the best first-year player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, the Hockey Commissioners' Association announced today.
The award is voted on by the nation's assistant coaches and is named for the former Yale Universitry and U.S. Olympic Team head coach.
Connor, who was selected seventeenth overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, will claim the NCAA scoring championship for 2015-16, given that his 71 points (35-36-71) are 17 points ahead of anyone still playing.
Connor had an assist in each of Michigan's games at the NCAA Midwest Regional on March 25-26, setting up the game-winning goal in Friday's 3-2 overtime win over Notre Dame and adding one helper in the Wolverines' season-ending 5-2 loss to North Dakota on Saturday. The two points extended his scoring streak to 27 consecutive games.
"It's been a special year for Kyle. He's had an unbelievable season," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. 'He knows where to go on the ice often before the player with the puck knows. He gets his shot away as quick as anyone I've seen, and he's accurate. He's a pure goal-scorer. Kyle has earned all of the recognition he's received." Connor was part of the nation's top and even historic line that included three Hobey Baker Award finalists: junior J.T. Compher centering for Connor and junior Tyler Motte. The three combined for 191 points (83-108-191) and finsihed 1-2-3 in NCAA scoring. Compher is a Colorado Avalanche draft pick while Motte is a Chicago Blackhawks selection. Together, the trio led Michigan to a mark of 25-8-5 and the Big Ten Tournament championship.
The runner-up for the 2016 National Rookie of the Year Award was North Dakota forward, Brock Boeser, a native of Burnsville, Minnesota, who had recorded 26-28-54 in 40 games, heading into Frozen Four play.
Tim Taylor, for whom the award is named, spent 28 seasons at Yale and became the school's winningest head coach as he collected 337 victories. His tenure spanned from 1976-2006, while taking two years on leave to coach the U.S. Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team as an assistant coach in 1984 and as the head coach in 1994. Taylor was captain of the Harvard University men's ice hockey team before he graduated in 1963. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach on the Crimson staff under Ralph "Cooney" Weiland and Bill Cleary before beginning his time with the Bulldogs in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Hockey Commissioners Association sponsors this award which results from a ballot containing each NCAA Division I ice hockey conference's Rookie of the Year.
Recipients of the Tim Taylor
National Rookie of the Year Award
2007 - Andreas Nodl, F, St. Cloud State University
2008 - Richard Bachman, G, Colorado College
2009 - Kieran Millan, G, Boston University
2010 - Stephane DaCosta, F, Merrimack College
2011 - T.J. Tynan, F, Notre Dame University
2012 - Joey LaLeggia, D, University of Denver
2013 - Jon Gillies, G, Providence College
2014 - Sam Anas, F, Quinnipiac University
2015 - Jack Eichel, F, Boston University
2016 - Kyle Connor, F, University of Michigan