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Seven former Vees on initial list for 2023 Hobey Baker Award voting

PENTICTON, B.C. – The initial list of nominees for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award has been announced and seven Vees alumni are among the over 80 players in the running for college hockey’s top award.

Ben Brar* (Merrimack), Grant Cruikshank (St. Cloud State), Andre Ghantous* (Northern Michigan), Nick Leivermann (Notre Dame), Yaniv Perets (Quinnipiac), Massimo Rizzo* (Denver), and David Silye* (Minnesota State) have been nominated.

(*Played for multiple BCHL teams)

Brar, a senior at Merrimack, has posted 19 points (8G, 11A) in 25 games this season in Hockey East. The Abbotsford, B.C., product split his BCHL career between the Vees and Prince George Spruce Kings.

Cruikshank is a fifth-year graduate forward at St. Cloud State University in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The Delafield, Wis., product is third in team scoring with 26 points (16G, 10A) in 24 games. In his two seasons with the Vees, Cruikshank had 74 points (43G, 31A) in 82 career regular season games.

Ghantous is a junior at Northern Michigan University and he sits second in team scoring with 22 points (4G, 18A) in 24 games. The product of Glendale, Calif., played the 2018-19 season in Penticton and posted 29 points (10G, 19A) in 38 regular season games.

Leivermann is a fifth-year, graduate defenceman at Notre Dame. Leivermann is the top scoring defenceman on the Fighting Irish roster, as he has 13 points (5G, 8A) in 18 games. The Eden Prairie Minn., product played for the Vees during the 2017-18 season and compiled 37 points (10G, 27A) in 43 regular season games.

Perets is a third-year goaltender at Quinnipiac University. The Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., product is having another strong year in the Bobcats’ crease. Perets is 18-3-3 and sports a 1.80 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. He also has four shutouts. Last season, Perets was named the ECAC Goaltender and Player of the Year and was named a Hobey Baker Memorial Award Finalist. Perets spent parts of two years in Penticton, from 2019-2020. During the 2019-20 regular season, he posted 25 wins and a 2.19 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He also played for the Vees during the 2020 Okanagan Cup.

Rizzo is in his sophomore year at Denver University in the NCHC. He leads the Pioneers in scoring with 32 points (10G, 22A) in 26 games. The product of Coquitlam, B.C., split his four-year BCHL career between Penticton, Coquitlam, and Chilliwack.

Silye is a junior forward at Minnesota State Mankato, and he leads the Mavericks with 27 points (17G, 10A) in 26 games. Silye, who hails from Arnprior, Ont., split his BCHL career between Nanaimo and Penticton. In two seasons with the Vees, Silye posted 112 points (41G, 81A) in 112 career regular season games.

Fan balloting is now open for the 2023 Hobey Baker Memorial Award and fans can cast their votes at Phase one of fan voting runs until Sunday, March 5. The Top 10 list of finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 15.