A former Vernon Viper has been nominated for the biggest award in American college hockey.
Odeen Tufto has been named a Top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top collegiate hockey player.
Playing centre for Quinnipiac University, Tufto has proven himself an elite playmaker at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level this season.
Tufto, 24, is in his final year of college eligibility. This season he’s tied for the NCAA lead with a 1.63 points-per-game average. His 44 points on the season put him second in all of college hockey, and his 38 assists leads all skaters by a large margin.
The Chaska, Minn., native was named a conference first-team all-star and is a finalist for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Hockey Player of the Year.
Quinnipiac has a bye to the ECAC finals on March 24. The team leads its conference with 37 points in 18 games played this season.
Tufto played for the Vernon Vipers in the 2015-16 BC Hockey League season, where he led the team in goals (25), assists (40) and points (65) in 57 games played. The Vipers fell in the first round of the playoffs to the divisional powerhouse Penticton Vees that year, and Tufto went on to join the Fargo Force of the U.S. Hockey League — the feeder league for the NCAA.
Tufto has spent his entire collegiate career with Quinnipiac, and is wearing the captain ‘C’ patch in his final season with the team.
Three more Hobey Baker finalists will be announced on April 1, and the winner will be named April 9.