HANOVER, N.H. – In a small gathering Wednesday evening at EBA’s in Hanover, the Dartmouth men’s hockey team came together formally for the final time in 2013-14.
The Big Green players, coaches and staff reconvened nearly a month and a half after the conclusion of the season to hand out team awards. The gathering serves as the unofficial conclusion of the season.
The annual awards were voted on by players only and are a recognition of work by their peers.
Junior Eric Neiley was the night’s biggest winner, being named the recipient of the team’s most valuable player honor, the Phelan Award. Neiley led the team in goals (14) and points (29), while ranking second in assists. His place atop the season-long team statistics also earned him the Dartmouth Men’s Hockey Leading Scorer Award for 2013-14.
A two-time All-ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and an All-Ivy Second-Team selection, Neiley was the Big Green’s undisputed on-ice catalyst all year. His play in the RPI series not only earned him the conference’s top weekly accolade, but also sparked Dartmouth’s remarkable comeback capped by an amazing three-goal third period comeback at Rensselaer to win Game 3 of the first-round series between the two ECAC Hockey foes.
Prior to this past season, Neiley had not received any of the team’s six annual awards.
The Phelan Award is annually chosen by teammates and presented to the player who, by demonstrating outstanding skill at his position, continued aggressiveness and team spirit, deserves to be named the ‘Most Valuable Player of The Year’. This award is in honor of ardent Dartmouth hockey enthusiast, Martha M. Phelan, wife of John Phelan ’28 and mother of John Phelan, Jr. ’63, captain of the 1963 Dartmouth men’s hockey team.
Grant Opperman was tabbed as the winner of the Booma Award. The freshman winger was third on the team in scoring with 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists.
The Booma Award is presented to the player who through determination, desire, dedication, and ability earns the ‘Rookie of The Year’ award. This award is given in honor of Roland C. Booma ’30, an all-around Dartmouth athlete, including football and baseball in addition to his role with the hockey program.
The Wayzata, Minnesota, native was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Feb. 19 for his part in helping the Green to a two-game road sweep of St. Lawrence and Clarkson. In those two wins, Opperman picked up the game winner against the Saints and added a goal and assist the following night in a 6-1 rout of the Golden Knights at Cheel Arena, a rink the team had not scored a goal in in more than two years.Junior Charlie Mosey received the Manser Award as the team’s most improved player. Mosey elevated his game in 2013-14, setting new career highs in goals (6) and points (13), while his seven assists were one shy of his best output set as a sophomore.
It wasn’t just his play in the offensive zone that helped Mosey stand out as one of the most successful players this past winter. His discipline all season saw him only whistled for one minor infraction — an elbowing minor in Game 2 of the quarterfinal series against Union — in the final game of the year. His ability to stay out of the penalty box meant he saw more time on the ice, helping contribute to the team’s ability to play 5-on-5 as well as being a key member of the penalty-killing unit.
The Manser Award is named for and given in honor of George ‘Johnny’ Manser ’26, captain of the 1926 varsity team and the first president of the Friends of Dartmouth Men’s Hockey.
Senior Nick Lovejoy was presented with the Smoyer Award, given to the player who has made the most unusual contribution to Dartmouth men’s hockey each year. These contributions are measured more by intangible factors than statistical results and is commonly referred to as the team’s “Unsung Hero”. The award is in honor of Bill Smoyer ’67, captain of the 1967 team and an outstanding soccer player who was sadly killed in Vietnam.
Few players in recent memory encompass what it means to be an unsung hero better than Lovejoy. A natural defenseman, the Orford, New Hampshire, native played on both sides of the blueline this season as well as both wing and center, stepping up and filling the roles asked of him by the coaching staff.
A vocal leader on the ice and on the bench, Lovejoy was a vital member of a team absolutely decimated by injuries and illness this season. His hard work and dogged style of play paid off as not only an energy guy, but also in key moments as seen in his first-career goal that proved to be the game winner at Boston University on Jan. 8.
Taylor Boldt, a senior defenseman and assistant captain, was selected as the 2013-14 honoree of the McInnis Award as the Sportsman of the Year. The award is chosen by the players to honor the individual who has best reflected spirit, camaraderie, loyalty and dedication to Dartmouth men’s hockey and to Dartmouth College. Those same characteristics were demonstrated throughout his lifetime by Philip McInnis ’36, president of the Friends of Men’s Hockey from 1979 through 1984 and in whose honor this award is given each year.
Last year’s Smoyer Award winner, Boldt claimed the McInnis this season as one of the most well-respected players not only in Hanover, but in all of ECAC Hockey. A soft-spoken leader, the Niwot, Colorado, native was whistled for just 22 penalty minutes his final year in the Upper Valley, while maintaining his role as the team’s most steady defensive-defenseman.
Boldt was not immune to the unlucky circumstances of 2013-14 as he missed four games in the middle of the year due to illness, one more game than he missed in his first three seasons combined wearing the Dartmouth sweater. His 129 career games played ranks seventh all-time in the program’s 108-year history, a true testament to his commitment to the team.