St. Cloud State University

LeBlanc wins Hobey Baker

Drew LeBlanc celebrates his Hobey Baker Award win with his team. Photo by Adam Hammer '05

Drew LeBlanc celebrates his Hobey Baker Memorial Award with teammates. Photo by Adam Hammer ’05

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — At the head of the Hobey Baker autograph line that snakes down the mezzanine from Section 118 to Section 120 sits a hockey player with shoulder-length dark hair and a shy, but steady smile.

Approaching in the line is a freckle-faced boy and his mother. LeBlanc slaps the cloth-covered table top with his palm and says “Come over here.” He tucks his arm around the boy’s waist, pulling him closer. The mother snaps the photo.

This is Drew LeBlanc, the nation’s best college hockey player, winner of the 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

After 45 minutes of chatting, signing and posing LeBlanc rides the elevator down to rink level and then walks with his fellow finalists out the resurfacing door to center ice at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Hobey Baker Award trophy. Photo by Adam Hammer '05

The Hobey Baker Award trophy. Photo by Adam Hammer ’05

Then comes the stuff his coach, Bob Motzko ’89, calls “the hoopla” — remarks, video presentations and interviews. He watches his father, Hermantown High School math teacher Guy LeBlanc, do a live interview on NHL Network.

And then the moment arrives.

The announcer, a former Pittsburgh weathercaster, says Drew’s name. And the St. Cloud State fans roar.

Reporters and photographers crowd closer as LeBlanc begins his acceptance speech.

The Hermantown native dons a headset for his live interview, joking with the broadcast director about how it is messing his hair, responding at one point with a bit of small town Minnesota: “Alrighty.”

The interview is followed by hugs. Hugs with his family. Hug and a hand shake with Motzko. Enthusiastic but awkward hugs with his uber-male teammates. A full-bodied, sustained hug with Bryan DeMaine, the trainer who helped LeBlanc off the ice on that terrible night in 2011, when he suffered a gruesome compound leg fracture.

At the press conference that follows LeBlanc talks about the injury. “Right when I hit I knew I broke it. I rolled over, tried to get up. My leg was literally laying on the ice.”

He fields reporters’ questions with self-effeacing ease, but jokes about his nervousness: “I was so nervous, and still am, and my stomach is still in knots. My legs are still twitching.”

In an aside, he claims his hands are too clammy to allow him to pick up the heavy trophy that rests on the press conference dias.

One of his last answers sums up LeBlanc’s work ethic and speaks to the accomplishments of the historic 2012-13 men’s Husky Hockey team.

“A lot of rink rat hours went into this trophy.”

Hobey Baker Memorial Award ceremony

  • The Hobey Baker Award.
  • Fans wait to get autographs of the Hobey Baker Award finalists.
  • Drew LeBlanc walks on the ice for the Hobey Baker Award ceremony.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • Drew LeBlanc jokes with other Hobey Baker Award finalists.
  • Huskies fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • The Hobey Baker Award.
  • Drew LeBlanc on the big screen.
  • Guy LeBlanc, Drew LeBlanc's dad, gets interviewed.
  • Hobey Baker Award finalists, including Drew LeBlanc, await the results.
  • Hobey Baker Award finalists, including Drew LeBlanc, await the results.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • Drew LeBlanc gives a speech.
  • Drew LeBlanc gives a speech.
  • Coach Bob Motzko congratulates Drew LeBlanc's family.
  • Drew LeBlanc poses for photos.
  • Drew LeBlanc and the Hobey Baker Award.
  • Drew LeBlanc and the Hobey Baker Award.
  • Drew LeBlanc and the Hobey Baker Award.
  • Drew LeBlanc and the Hobey Baker Award.
  • Drew LeBlanc is joined on the ice by his team.
  • Drew LeBlanc is joined on the ice by his team.
  • Drew LeBlanc and his mother.
  • Drew LeBlanc and his family.
  • Drew LeBlanc and his girlfriend.
  • Drew LeBlanc and coach Bob Motzko.
  • Drew LeBlanc is congratulated by the other Hobey Baker Award finalists.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc.
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc.
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc.
  • St. Cloud State Huskies and fans cheer for Drew LeBlanc.
  • Hobey Baker Award winner Drew LeBlanc.
  • Drew LeBlanc is joined on the ice by his team.
  • Drew LeBlanc is joined on the ice by his team.
  • Drew LeBlanc is joined on the ice by his team.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Fans in line at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award autograph session.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award press conference.
  • Drew LeBlanc at the Hobey Baker Award press conference.

Photos by Adam Hammer ’05

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