Drew LeBlanc’s career as a St. Cloud State student is climaxing April 12 as he holds in his hands college hockey’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
At center ice of the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., LeBlanc accepts the 40-pound Hobey Baker Memorial Award, a St. Cloud State first. The senior forward for men’s Husky Hockey is the recipient of a national best 24,707 fan votes and the approbation of a 23-member national selection committee.
Talking through a miniature monitor in his right ear is an NHL Network director, who is prepping LeBlanc for a live television broadcast.
Seated on the ice before LeBlanc are his parents and two younger brothers, flown in from Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth.
In the arena seats are his teammates, who combined with LeBlanc to create a season unlike any in Husky Athletics history: A share of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) title, symbolized by the 100-year-old MacNaughton Cup, and a berth in the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship — the Frozen Four.
Also in the stands are the surgeon and trainer who helped LeBlanc heal from a 2011 compound fracture of both bones in his lower left leg, a gruesome game injury that frightened his teammates and threatened his career.
The three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and popular mathematics student teacher at St. Cloud Apollo High School is just hours from getting a phone call from the Chicago Blackhawks. Management at the storied National Hockey League franchise sees LeBlanc as college hockey’s leading playmaker, based on a national-best 37 assists during the 2012-13 season. It also sees a young man of high character, who earned a rare sweep of the WCHA’s outstanding player and top student-athlete awards.
In the 144 years since students first stepped into a converted hotel above the Beaver Islands, has a St. Cloud State student earned more acclaim for athletic and academic feats?
This is the legacy of Drew LeBlanc.
St. Cloud State career highlights
– Team Captain 2011-12 and 2012-13
– 2013 All-WCHA First Team
– 2011 All-WCHA Third Team
– 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 All-WCHA Academic
– 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 WCHA Scholar Athlete
– 2010 & 2011 Capital One At-Large Academic All-District V Second Team (Div. I)
– 2013 Capital One At-Large Academic All-District First Team (Div. I)
– 2013 Capital One At- Large Academic All-America Second Team (Div. I)
– WCHA Offensive Player of the Week on Jan. 19, 2009
– WCHA Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 5, 2013
– William Radovich Award (Most Improved) 2009
– Roland Vandell Award (Rookie of the Year) 2009
– Marty Sundvall/SC Times Star of the Season 2013
– LeRoy Radovich Alumni Award (Outstanding Senior) 2013
– Frank Brimsek Award (MVP) 2013
– Hobey Baker Award Winner 2013
– Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist 2013
– Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist 2013
– WCHA Player of the Year 2013
– WCHA Student Athlete of the Year 2013
– AHCA/CCM Division I All-American West First Team 2013
– College Hockey Premiere Player of the Year Award 2013
– All-USCHO.com Second Team 2013
– Ranked 7th in the nation in 2012-13 with 50 points
– Ranked 1st in the nation in 2012-13 with 37 assists
– Helped lead Huskies to 2012-13 WCHA Regular Season Title (McNaughton Cup)
– Helped lead Huskies to a berth at 2013 WCHA Final Five
– Helped Lead Huskies to first place finish at the 2013 NCAA DI Midwest Region tournament
– Helped lead Huskies to 2013 NCAA Division I Frozen Four
– Named one of Sports Illustrated’s top five college male athletes of 2012-13