BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – March 6, 2018 – The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is proud to recognize Minnesota senior blueliner Sydney Baldwin as its 2017-18 WCHA Player of the Year, Powered by GoodWood Hockey.
Baldwin, who last week was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, was chosen for the top overall honor by league head coaches and assistant coaches from among the final four candidates: Offensive Player of the Year Abby Roque of Wisconsin, Goaltender of the Year Kristen Campbell of Wisconsin and Rookie of the Year Emma Maltais of Ohio State (all Powered by GoodWood Hockey).
"On behalf of the WCHA, we stand and applaud Sydney Baldwin as our 2017-18 Player of the Year," said WCHA Vice President and Women's League Commissioner Katie Million. "Each of the four candidates had remarkable seasons, but Sydney's all-around contributions were truly special. To be among the nation's leading scorers on defense, while also topping the country in blocked shots, being a part of both special teams units and serving as a co-captain for an NCAA tournament team, is worthy of every accolade in the book. Congratulations, Sydney!"
Baldwin, a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist, was tied for third in the WCHA scoring race and paced league blueliners with 22 points (9g-13a) in conference games, along with a league-best 76 blocked shots. The native of Minnetonka, Minn. tallied a point in 14 of her 24 WCHA games, while factoring in four game-winning goals (2g-2a). The first-team All-WCHA performer also helped the Gophers to the league's second-best power play in WCHA games.
"The way Sydney has elevated her performance on and off the ice this season is incredible," said Minnesota Head Coach Brad Frost. "Sydney has been our most valuable player at both ends of the ice over the past few months – contributing offensively as well as defensively. She leads the league in blocked shots, shuts down opponents on the rush, and yet still finds time to also lead our team offensively gaining the most points of any defenseman. She is an incredible skater in all three zones with strong puck sills and an incredible shot, and she finds ways to shut down our opponents' best players while at the same time being one of our strongest offensive threats. Most importantly, Sydney has become a great leader and demonstrates the attributes of a true student-athlete."
Baldwin's 32 points overall, from 12 goals and 20 assists, are tied for second among NCAA Division I blueliners, tops among her WCHA position peers and tied for fifth in the league overall. She has played in all 37 of Minnesota's games, has tallied a point in 23 contests, has compiled an NCAA-best 99 blocked shots and owns a plus-26 rating. Perhaps most importantly, Baldwin is co-captain of a Gophers team that won the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff to advance to the NCAA tournament.
Baldwin becomes just the third full-time blueliner to be named WCHA Player of the Year in the award's 19-year history, joining two-time United States Olympian and fellow Gopher Courtney Kennedy (2001) and, most recently, an Olympic gold medalist with Canada, Ohio State alumna Tessa Bonhomme (2008). A fourth skater, Minnesota's Ronda Curtin, was listed as a defenseman and forward when she earned WCHA Player of the Year honors in 2002.
All-Time WCHA Players of the Year
|Season||Name, Position, Year, Team|
|1999-00||Jenny Schmidgall-Potter, F., So, Minnesota Duluth|
|2000-01||Courtney Kennedy, D, Sr., Minnesota|
|2001-02||Ronda Curtin, D/F, Jr., Minnesota|
|2002-03||Jenny Schmidgall-Potter, Jr., F, Minnesota Duluth|
|2003-04||Krissy Wendell, F, So., Minnesota|
|2004-05||Krissy Wendell, F, Jr., Minnesota|
|2005-06||Sara Bauer, F, Jr., Wisconsin|
|2006-07||Sara Bauer, F, Sr., Wisconsin|
|2007-08||Tessa Bonhomme, D, Sr., Ohio State|
|2008-09||Hilary Knight, F, So., Wisconsin|
|2009-10||Felicia Nelson, F, Sr., St. Cloud State|
|Zuzana Tomcikova, G, So., Bemidji State|
|2010-11||Meghan Duggan, F, Sr., Wisconsin|
|2011-12||Brianna Decker, F, Jr., Wisconsin|
|2012-13||Amanda Kessel, F, Jr., Minnesota|
|2013-14||Hannah Brandt, F, So., Minnesota|
|2014-15||Hannah Brandt, F, Jr., Minnesota|
|2015-16||Ann-Renée Desbiens, Jr., G, Wisconsin|
|2016-17||Lara Stalder, Sr., F, Minnesota Duluth|
|2017-18||Sydney Baldwin, Sr., D, Minnesota|
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA)
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has won a record 16 national championships in 18 seasons since its inception in 1999 (including 15 of a possible 17 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Award winners, 95 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team Division 1 conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). For more information, visit www.wcha.com.
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