Hockey season highlighted

The attendance of North Dakota hockey games can be traced to the dedication of loyal fans.

UND led NCAA Division I men’s hockey in home attendance in 2012-13 with an average of 11,592 fans in 21 home games — remaining the only program in the country to average more than 10,000 fans at each home game.

On March 2, during North Dakota’s last regular home game against Bemidji State, 12,177 fans filled the 11,634-seat arena, marking the second-largest in program history and yet another sellout crowd that occurred within 12 of 21 home games.

The school record of 12,189, which occurred on Feb. 9, 2002 against Minnesota, was just 12 fans away from being broken.

“We have the most dedicated fans in college hockey,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said in a press release. “It is a privilege to go to work in front of them every Friday and Saturday night.”

This year marks an improvement from last year’s second place finish in home attendance while remaining the leader in total attendance.

Team awards

Last week, the team concluded its season by voting on a series of team awards.

Claiming one of the most valuable honors, Corban Knight was voted the team’s most valuable player and received the Jeff Anderson Scholarship Award.

Highlighting his season were his spots in the Hobey Baker top ten list and All-American second team while posting a career-high 49 points with 16 goals and 33 assists. He is also the first player to string together back-to-back 30 point season’s since Minnesota Wild star Zach Parise did in 2002-04.

Senior Andrew MacWilliam was awarded the Archie Krum Memorial Athletic scholarship, given to the player who demonstrates leadership qualities, high academic standards and athletic excellence. As the team captain, MacWilliam was named to the third straight Academic All-WCHA Team and was NCAA West Region All-Tournament Team selection. He appeared in 42 games where he racked up a career-high 13 points.

The Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the freshman who demonstrates initiative, character and responsibility. This year’s award was presented to freshman Colten St. Clair, who skated in 40 games and scored three goals and seven assists.

Leading all WCHA rookies and claiming the No. 3 spot nationally with 36 points in 40 games, freshman Rocco Grimaldi was named the team’s Rookie of the Year after leading all freshman in the nation with 147 shots on goal.

Junior Dillon Simpson received the Most Improved Player award after appearing in all 42 games and leading UND defensemen with a career-high 24 points with his five goals and 19 assists.

The Coaches’ Unsung Hero Award was given to senior Joe Gleason after he set a career high 18 points with five goals and 13 assists while playing in 41 games this season. Gleason was also a WCHA nominee for the Derek Hines National Unsung Hero Award.

Awards for Kristo

The Cliff “Fido” Purpur Award, is given to the player who exemplifies hard work, determination and being a creator of excitement on the ice.

With his second place tie nationally with 52 points and WCHA-leading 26 goals, senior Danny Kristo was the recipient of the award. This season, he was a Hobey Baker finalist, first-team All-America and College Hockey News Player of the Year.

Kristo was also awarded the Virg Foss 3-Star Award for the second consecutive season, given to the player who received the most 3-star voting points from print media following home games.

In addition to his success within the team, Kristo was named to the U.S. national team for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship that will take place in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden May 2-19.

He finished his collegiate career with 68 goals and 93 assists in 157 career games for a total of 161 points.

After the conclusion of his senior season, Kristo signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens and appeared in nine games with the Montreal’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he collected three assists.

Kristo will use his new experiences and look to learn from old ones as he represented the U.S. at the IIHF Under-20 Championship in 2009 and 2013 and is a product of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Erickson can be reached at [email protected]