Former Colorado College defenseman Jaccob Slavin, right, is a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

Jaccob Slavin left Colorado College six years ago to pursue a career in the National Hockey League. Today, he is considered one of its most respected players.

Slavin, a defenseman now in his sixth season with the Carolina Hurricanes, was recently named one of three finalists for the prestigious Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. The other finalists are Toronto's Auston Matthews and Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon.

The winners of all the 2021 NHL Awards will be announced during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final.

The Lady Byng is awarded annually to the “player judged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Among those who’ve won the award going back to its inaugural season of 1924-25 are Wayne Gretzky (five times), Mike Bossy (3) and Joe Sakic (1).

Slavin played two seasons for CC from 2013-15. While new CC coach Kris Mayotte never worked with Slavin, he said he is well aware of the value Slavin brings to the game.

“We are happy that Jaccob had such a great year,” Mayotte said. “He is certainly deserving of the Lady Byng award and the recognition he is receiving. Jaccob has always been a great role model for the type of student-athlete we hope to bring to Colorado College.”

Jerry Cross, CC’s director of athletics communications whose first year at the school was Slavin's last, added, “I’m not at all surprised by this. Jaccob was well respected when he was here. If Jaccob can join a group that Wayne Gretzky is in, that says something about his character and rubs off on Colorado College.”

Slavin had a near-flawless season for the Hurricanes. He led the roster in average ice time at nearly 23 minutes per game and had only one minor penalty – a delay-of-game infraction for shooting the puck over the glass. He is a four-time all-star (there was no game this season) and finished fourth in Lady Byng voting in 2019-20.

He was also fifth that season in voting for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

The only other CC player to win a major award was Bill “Red” Hay, who won the Calder trophy in 1960.

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