Every weekday from June 12-27, we will be looking back at the "Top Shelf Moments" from the 2016-17 WCHA Men's League season. Up next on our countdown is…
Moment #4: A CLASS Act
The mission of the WCHA extends far beyond the sport of hockey; the league and its 10 member institutions are committed to providing the very best student-athlete experience, both on and off the ice. All who play in the WCHA embody the student-athlete ideal, competing at the highest levels of the sport they love, while balancing academics and community endeavors.
One, however, stood above all others – not just in the WCHA, but across the country.
For an inspiring blend of all-around excellence, we honor Bemidji State forward Brendan Harms, the 2016-17 Senior CLASS Award® winner as the top student-athlete in Division I men's college hockey (as chosen by a nationwide vote of D-I men's hockey coaches, national hockey media and fans).
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their athletic platforms to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
"Winning the Senior CLASS Award really means a lot," said Harms, the first Beaver student-athlete and second from the WCHA to earn the prestigious honor. "When I saw the list of nominees, they are all great players and they are amazing people too. Just to have the opportunity to be nominated and then to make the short list of finalists was an extreme honor for me. When you put the work in to balance life as a student-athlete and try to contribute more than just on the ice, and then get acknowledged for that, it's an amazing feeling.
"Bemidji State and NCAA Hockey has been a great platform for me to do more for myself and the people around me. First and foremost I got tremendous coaching, which allowed me to be better on the ice, but they also preach being a great person. Because Bemidji is a smaller community I have had so many opportunities to get involved in the community and get to know people, help out and make a difference."
Selected as an alternate captain for the eventual MacNaughton Cup champion Beavers, Harms finished his Bemidji State career with a 21-point season (8g-13a) in 2016-17, which included six power-play goals and two game-winners.
"Brendan Harms personifies what it means to be a student-athlete," said Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore. "He does everything the right way, always committed to his work in the classroom, in the community and on the ice. He leads by example and makes a positive impact with everything he does and everyone he meets. He is a great representative of Beaver Hockey and leaves Bemidji State and our community a better place."
With 88 career points (33g-55a) in four seasons and 141 games, Harms ranks among the top 12 on BSU's Division I-era scoring list, while his 55 assists place him eighth at BSU since 1999-2000.
An All-WCHA Third Team selection (2014-15), and a three-time recipient of the WCHA's Scholar-Athlete Awards as well as a three-time member of the league's all-academic team, Harms finished his career totaling at least 20 points in each of his four seasons at BSU, which includes a career-best 25 points (8g-17a) as a junior (2015-16).
Harms' commitment to excellence extends far beyond the confines of the boards. As a volunteer, he has worked with the Bemidji Boy's and Girl's Club, BSU's Campus Clean Up Project, the local food shelf and community garden and the suicide prevention run/walk, while he has assisted fellow students during BSU's fall move-in and visited Heartland Christian Academy during recess to play hockey with the students.
Harms owns a 4.0 grade point average as a business administration major with a minor in human performance. Signed in March by the Florida Everblades, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, Harms played in four regular season games, scoring his first professional goal and logging five shots.
Harms emerged from a group of top-10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award that included three from the WCHA – more than any other Division I conference. Northern Michigan defenseman Brock Maschmeyer and Ferris State forward Chad McDonald were also among the finalists, who were chosen by national media from an initial list of 15 candidates announced in January.
"Top Shelf Moments" from the 2016-17 WCHA Season