The State of Hockey is well-represented on the list of finalists for the 2021-22 Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the nation's top men's Division I hockey player.
Of the finalists, Bobby Brink, Brian Halonen, Ben Meyers, Dryden McKay and Nathan Smith are tied to Minnesota one way or another. Brink, Halonen and Meyers are Minnesota natives (Halonen and Meyers were high school teammates at Delano) and McKay Smith are leading the No. 1 team in the country, Minnesota State.
- Matty Beniers, Forward, Michigan
- Bobby Brink, Forward, Denver
- Brian Halonen, Forward, Michigan Tech
- Luke Hughes, Defenseman, Michigan
- Devon Levi, Goalie, Northeastern
- Dryden McKay, Goalie, Minnesota State
- Ben Meyers, Forward, Minnesota
- Yanev Perets, Goalie, Quinnipiac
- Nathan Smith, Forward, Minnesota State
- Bobby Trivigno, Forward, Massachusetts
Brink, who was a standout at Minnetonka High School and later selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft, is a junior forward with 14 goals and 41 assists this season at Denver.
Halonen, who is the third of 10 siblings, starred at Delano High School where he racked up 167 points in 96 games. As a senior forward at Michigan Tech he has 21 goals and 23 assists this season.
Meyers was teammates with Halonen at Delano High School, where he scored an astounding 278 career points, which ranks eight in Minnesota high school history. He has 16 goals and 20 assists as a junior this season with the third-ranked Gophers.
McKay isn't from Minnesota (he's from Illinois) but has become arguably the best goalie in the country at Minnesota State, where he's leading the No. 1 Mavericks this season with nine shutouts and allowing only 27 goals in his past 26 games.
Smith is McKay's teammate at Mankato, and he too is not a Minnesota native. Originally from Florida, Smith paces the Mavericks with 18 goals and 30 assists as a junior wing.
Plenty of them, if not all of them, will be playing in the NCAA tournament next week. This week is filled with conference tournament championship games, which will be followed by the NCAA tournament Selection Show at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Gophers face Michigan in the Big Ten championship at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Minnesota State faces Bemidji State in the CCHA championship at 6 p.m. Saturday.