Ryan Black from Babson and Conor O’Brien from Endicott are Co-Winners of the 21st Joe Concannon Award for Best American-Born Division III College Hockey Player in New England 

Dynamic duo top the field of five outstanding finalists representing teams from Babson, Colby, Endicott, Plymouth State, and Saint Anselm’s

BOSTON – March  22, 2022 – Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Cheryl Duddy-Schoenfield announced today that Ryan Black from Babson Collegeand Conor O’Brien from Endicott College are the co-winners of the21stJoe Concannon Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England at the Division-II/III level.

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.

Black, a senior forward from Pomfret, Connecticut, finished his season with the Beavers by recording 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points. Black earned Player of the Year honors in the ultra-competitive New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) while also leading the nation in game-winning goals with nine on the season. He helped the Beavers earn the NEHC title and their first NCAA tournament win since 2013 before losing in the quarterfinal round to Geneseo. He is just the second individual winner of the award and third overall for Babson, whose Jamie Murray won the award back-to-back in 2015 and 2016.

“This is a great award for Ryan, who has been a selfless star for us,” noted Babson head coach Jamie Rice. ”In my time here, nobody has done what he did this year, at the level he did, with such consistency. He is amazingly humble and always happy. He carries himself with a lot of humility and has always just been one of the guys on the team. He has tremendous hockey sense and an innate ability to put himself in the right place on the ice. He took zero penalties this year, scored 100 points in just over three years of playing, and led the nation in game-winning goals and you would never know it with how he carries himself on and off the ice. As good a player as Ryan has been, he really is a better person and has carried that beyond our team to the athletic community and campus here at Babson.”

O’Brien, a senior goaltender from Pinellas Park, Florida, led the Gulls to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title game where they lost to the University of New England in overtime. For the season, O’Brien was outstanding statistically with a 1.47 goals-against average and .949 save percentage to go with a shutout and a 19-6-1 record in 27 starts. His performance earned him both the Goaltender and Player of the Year honors in the CCC. He is also the first ever netminder at Endicott to wear the “C” as captain of the team. O’Brien becomes the first Gull to win the Joe Concannon Award.

“From day one, Conor has made our program and community a better place,” said Endicott head coach R.J. Tolan. “He’s the most self-confident and competitive person I have coached. He is so committed to his craft, and he has made it almost impossible not to play him in every game, not only over the last season but for his career here at Endicott. Conor always raises the bar and wills himself to be the very best goaltender, captain and teammate. He has been the backbone of our team, has been a great leader, and is a huge contributor to our success as a program.”

Black and O’Brien outpaced three other outstanding finalists in the final balloting. All were worthy candidates for the award.  They are:

Myles Abbate (Norwell, MA) – the junior forward from Plymouth State finished the season with 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points while leading the Panthers to their third consecutive MASCAC championship and NCAA tournament berth. Abbate was a first team All-MASCAC selection along with being voted the league’s Player of the Year.

Andrew Andary (Macomb, MI) – the junior forward was a first-team NE-10 all-conference player and Player of the Year He recorded 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in leading St. Anselm to a second place finish in the regular season. He led the conference in scoring during the regular season while chipping in with two game-winning goals for the Hawks.

Andy Beran (St. Paul, MN) – the sophomore goaltender for Colby played a big part in the Mules’ winning the regular season title in the NESCAC before losing in the tournament title game to Trinity. He finished the season with a 1.62 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and five shutouts in 24 games. He posted a 15-6-2 record, earning Goaltender of the Year and first-team All-NESCAC honors.

“This has been an incredible season at the D-II/III level with so many great players and teams accomplishing so much for the first time since COVID curtailed play in 2020,” said Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Committee chairman Tim Costello. “This is the third time the award has seen co-winners and the first time since 2005. These finalists are truly among the best representation of the outstanding level of play and individual achievement from across each of the conferences.”

“This year showcased a season where there was unparalleled parity and high level of play across New England. For Ryan and Conor, this season was truly a great culmination to a pair of wonderful careers with great league recognitions and now capped off by winning the Joe Concannon Award. The committee really could not come to a single winner, considering their outstanding play on the ice and exemplary character off it. They both are welcome additions to the list of most worthy recipients.”

The Joe Concannon Award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers’ Event on May 5 at Prince Restaurant, Saugus.

                                                Joe Concannon Award Winners

2001        Keith Aucoin                           Norwich University

2002        Michael Carosi                        Bowdoin College

2003        Nick Stauder                           Salem State College

2004        Michael O’Sullivan                 Curry College

              Jim Pancyzkowski                    Wesleyan University

2005        Brian Doherty                         Curry College

                Joseph Ori                               Trinity College

2006        Adam Dann                             Bowdoin College

2007        Greg Osborne                         Colby College

2008        Tom Maldonado                      Middlebury College

2009        Jeff Landers                            Amherst College

2010        Coleman Noonan                    St. Anselm College

2011        Josh Harris                              Castleton College

2012        Jeremiah Ketts                         Johnson & Wales University

2013        Colin Mulvey                          Norwich University

2014        Jackson Brewer                       Trinity College

2015        Jamie Murray                          Babson College

2016        Jamie Murray                          Babson College

2017        Brady Fleurent                        University of New England

2018        Colin Larkin                            Massachusetts-Boston

2019        Brady Fleurent                        University of New England

2020        Walker Harris                          Wesleyan University

2021        Not Awarded                          Canceled due to COVID

2022        Ryan Black                              Babson College

                Conor O’Brien                        Endicott College

The Joe Concannon Award

The Gridiron Club established the Joe Concannon Award in 2001 to honor Joe, a lifelong devotee of college hockey, former member of the Walter Brown Award Selection Committee and, as a journalist, a staunch advocate for the amateur athletes he knew and covered.  A native of Litchfield, Connecticut, Joe graduated from Boston University in 1961. He served as sports information director (SID) at Holy Cross before joining the Boston Globe in the late 1960’s to cover college sports.  Joe declined frequent invitations by his editors to write about Boston’s major professional sports teams, preferring to concentrate on the colleges, distance running and golf.  He wrote the book Marathoning with Bill Rodgers and established the highly successful Litchfield Road Race in his hometown.  Joe was a world traveler and was especially proud of his Irish heritage, frequently sojourning to the Emerald Isle.  He passed away in 2000.

2021-2022 Gridiron Club Hockey Awards Selection Committee and Advisory Board: Tim Costello, Chairman; Joe Bertagna, Tom Burke, Jim Connelly, Ned Cully, Dick DeCaprio, Bob DeGregorio, Kevin Fleming, Steve Hagwell, John Powers, Dick Umile, Mike McShane,   Paul McNamara, and William J. Stewart III.

Press Contacts:  Tim Costello, Committee Chairman   Phone: 732-425-5922   tim.costello@ymail.com

                           Tom Burke, Communications Director    Phone: 617-323-5694 tomburke99@aol.com

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