Yale men’s ice hockey forward Christopher Higgins ’05 is one of 12 finalists for the prestigious Walter Brown Award, an award given to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

With 15 goals and 10 assists, Higgins leads the team in goals and is third overall on the squad for points. Harvard’s Noah Welch and Tim Pettit and Dartmouth’s Trevor Byrne are also finalists.

Award committee members will observe the finalists’ performances for another month before announcing the winner in April at the New England Hockey Writers’ Dinner.

Last year, Higgins was Ivy League Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman on the New England Hockey Writers’ Association Men’s Ice Hockey All-Star Team. He was also ranked 9th among North American prospects on the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. He was also the 14th overall pick in the 2002 National Hockey League draft.

Although this award is one of the greatest honors any college player can receive, Higgins said it was not something that had always been on his mind.

“I would be very honored to be selected,” Higgins said. “Personally, I set goals for myself before the year begins, but winning individual awards is not one of them.”

Higgins said that there are many excellent players in the league deserving of this award, especially the other Ivy League candidates.

Teammate Evan Wax ’03 said that Higgins is worthy of the Walter Brown Award.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Chris is the best Ivy League player nominated for this award,” Wax said.

Defenseman Bryan Freeman ’04 said Higgins’ offensive skills are without an equal.

“His ability to explode offensively is, I think, unmatched,” Freeman said, “Very few players in college hockey can take a shift over like Higgins does.”

Wax said that Higgins not only helps offensively, but contributes to the team in many ways that the average fan may fail to recognize.

“Chris is an all around player,” Wax said. “He is a hard worker who is responsible defensively and obviously brings so much to our offensive dynamic.”

Freeman agreed that Higgins contributes to the team in many other facets besides offense.

“Chris brings to our team a major offensive presence and also a wealth of grit and character,” Freeman said. “Chris has the mental toughness to make plays and be an impact player when it counts most for our team.”

While teammates praised Higgins’ play, Higgins felt it was his fellow teammates who deserved recognition for helping his game this year.

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