Evan Buitenhuis, a junior goaltender from Hamilton College and Burlington, Ontario, has been chosen by the nation's ice hockey coaches as the 2017 winner of the Sid Watson Award, symbolic of the best NCAA Division III men's ice hockey player. The 6-2, 180-pound netminder went 17-5-4 this year with a 1.78 GAA and a save percentage of .941. In 54 career games, he has a remarkable .943 save percentage.
"Evan has a tremendous passion and work ethic for the game," said Hamilton head coach Rob Haberbusch. "He is literally, the first person on the ice for practice and the last to leave. His accomplishments are a result of his constant drive to improve. Evan is equally as tremendous a person and teammate. He is selfless, humble and brings a positive attitude to the rink each day. He keeps constant watch over the morale of the team and especially his fellow goaltenders."
Buitenhuis finished the NESCAC Regular Season first in both GAA (1.47) and SP (.948). As a team, Hamilton finished first in Team Scoring Defense in NESCAC conference play during the 16-17 season (1.56). After an injury riddled freshman year, Buitenhuis was named First Team All-Conference as a sophomore and First Team All-Conference and Conference Player of the Year this current season, his junior year. Added Haberbusch, "Evan has been a major factor in Hamilton's improvement during the last three seasons. As a team, we moved from a 6th place finish in the NESCAC during Evan's freshman year, to 4th in his sophomore year, to first this current season, his junior year. This season was just the second time that Hamilton won the NESCAC Regular Season Title and the first time that Hamilton reached the NESCAC Playoff Championship Game. This season also marks the first time that Hamilton has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in our 99-year history of varsity hockey."
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 games at Bowdoin in a career that spanned from 1959 to 1983. He was also the school's athletic director.
The runner-up for the 2017 Sid Watson Award, for the second year in a row, was Stephen Collins, a senior forward from SUNY Geneseo and Pittsford, New York.
|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|
|2013||Paul Rodrigues||SUNY Oswego||Forward|
|2014||David Jacobson||St. Norbert||Goalie|
|2015||Drew Fielding||St. Thomas||Goalie|