The high school hockey season is blasting full-steam ahead and the state tournament is right around the corner. With that, it's that time of year again to announce ten finalists for the annual Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award.
The Minnesota Minute Men announced the following finalists on Wednesday, according to MN Hockey Hub.
Duluth East defenseman Phil Beaulieu, Blaine forward Tyler Cline, Benilde-St. Margaret’s forward Spencer Naas, Edina defenseman Tyler Nanne, Grand Rapids forward Avery Peterson, Hill-Murray forward Mitch Slattery, Eden Prairie forward Steven Spinner, Eden Prairie defenseman Luc Snuggerud, Eagan defenseman Nick Wolff and Roseau forward Zach Yon.
According to the Minnesota Minute Men website, the Mr. Hockey honor is awarded to the "outstanding senior high school boys’ hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Junior Scouts/Coaches and selected media members from around the state."
Hunter Shepard of Grand Rapids and Max Berglove of Elk River were named finalists for the Frank Brimsek Award, which is given annually to the state's best senior goalie.
The winners will be announced March 9 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The Class 1A and 2A state championship games will be played March 8 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Grant Besse of Benilde-St. Margaret's won the award last year. The three previous winners – Justin Kloos, Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad – all play/played for the Golden Gophers. Bjugstad is now in the NHL with the Florida Panthers. The 2009 winner was Eden Prairie's Nick Leddy, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
The 2000 winner was former Elk River standout Paul Martin. He played three years at the University of Minnesota and now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's on the U.S. Olympic team roster and will make his way to Sochi, Russia on Saturday.