Colorado College sophomore Nick Halloran swung his way up to the stage on crutches, his entire leg bound in a brace. There was a rickety step. The crowd voiced its concern.
The second-team All-American had it covered, clearing it with ease.
Halloran, who said he played for some time with a torn labrum and had a bone spur removed, underwent surgery last Monday but was ready to collect the night’s top honor, the Thayer Tutt Award for most valuable player, and the M.B. Hopper Award for the team scoring lead Wednesday night at Colorado College’s annual banquet.
“It’s an honor to get this, but I want to give credit to my teammates,” Halloran said. “Let’s have a good improvement next year.”
Halloran went from nine points his freshman year to 45 (19 goals, 26 assists) as a sophomore, good for third overall in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The top two have already left for the NHL.
Improvement and continued rise were the themes of the night, with much attention given to the fifth-highest scoring junior class in the country.
Junior Mason Bergh, an all-conference honorable mention, took the Paul Markovich Award for top student-athlete and the Scott Winkler Award, named for the CC forward who passed away unexpectedly shortly after graduating in 2013. It’s given to the player who has earned the respect of his teammates through humility, optimism and support.
Co-captain Tanner Ockey and assistant captain Andrew Farny shared the Steve Ebert Award for dedication, desire, ability and sportsmanship, and Christiano Versich and Zach Berzolla shared freshman of the year.
“They did a real good job, and we believe they could be leaders down the road for this hockey team,” coach Mike Haviland, who signed a contract extension last week, said.
Junior Trey Bradley took the Rodman Award for unheralded sportsmanship, junior Westin Michaud was named most improved and sophomore goaltender Alex Leclerc was the playoff MVP after allowing two goals and turning in a career-high 46-save performance through the first two games of an NCHC first-round series against Denver.