WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Jim Kearney announced today that 25 NCAA Division II/III players are semifinalists for the 16th Joe Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
The Joe Concannon Award was established in 2001 shortly after the passing of the longtime writer for The Boston Globe, who had a great passion for the game of college hockey while always advocating strongly for amateur athletics.
Fifteen teams are represented in the slate of candidates that includes nine players from the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), eight from the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC), four from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), four from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and one from the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10).
The list of nominees includes 14 forwards, eight defensemen and four goalies. Second-year program Endicott College, which moved it hockey up to varsity status last season after 12 years as a club team, leads the way with four nominees. Norwich, Massachusetts-Boston and the University of New England have three each.
Just four of the 2017 nominees were semifinalists a year ago. They are UNE forward Trevor Fleurent; Norwich forward Tyler Piacentini; UMB defenseman Tyler Bishop, and Tufts defenseman Sean Kavanagh.
The Ephs', Frankie Mork, is a senior defenseman from Victoria, MN, and is a four-year letterman. This season Mork has netted two goals and assisted on 10. He is third in NESCAC in assists and leads NESCAC defensemen, ranking only behind teammates David Italiano (15) and Roberto Cellini (11). Both Italiano and Cellini are forwards.
Mork has played 88 games for the Ephs, netting 13 goals and registering 36 assists for 49 career points.
"This is the greatest number of semifinalists we have ever had for the Concannon Award," said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. The incredibly high level of play across each of the five conferences as well as the number of teams that have appeared in national rankings and players receiving weekly conference recognition are true indicators of the field's worthiness for consideration. With the final weeks of the regular season and conference tournaments ahead at the end of February, there is a short window of time for players to truly separate themselves from a talented and deep field contending for this year's award.
The Gridiron Club will announce the finalists and winner of the 17th Joe Concannon Award in March, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA Frozen Four in Utica, NY. The Concannon Award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers' Dinner on Tuesday, April 11 at the Prince Restaurant in Saugus, MA.