USA Hockey has announced the honorees for its major awards in 2018, including four individuals from Minnesota. USA Hockey will honor its service award recipients and various other players of the year on June 6 at its annual Night of Tribute Awards Dinner, while the other top awards will be presented during the President’s Awards Dinner on June 8.
Minnesota natives receiving awards this year include Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Maddie Rooney (Andover, Minn.); Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Zach Driscoll (Apple Valley, Minn.); Chet Stewart Award winner Dick Haney (Duluth, Minn.); and Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Dean Blais (International Falls, Minn.)
The award dinners will be held in conjunction with 2018 Annual Congress June 6-9 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The four-day event provides USA Hockey’s various councils, sections and committees the opportunity to conduct the business of the national governing body and celebrate notable accomplishments.
For a complete list of USA Hockey Award winners, click here.
The 2017-18 season was especially sweet for Maddie Rooney, who backstopped the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team to a gold medal at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and a first-place finish at the 2017 Four Nations Cup.
During the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, the 20-year-old posted a stingy 1.16 goals-against average to lead all tournament goaltenders and a .945 save percentage that ranked second. She played in four of the five U.S. games, recording 260 minutes of ice time and allowing only five goals. Saving her best for last, Rooney blanked Finland in the semifinals, 5-0, stopping all 14 shots, and then stymied Canada in a captivating overtime shootout to help Team USA earn its second Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey.
At the 2017 Four Nations Cup, Rooney recorded 49 saves and a .907 save percentage, notching three wins in three games, including the championship game against Canada. Rooney also stopped 23 of 25 shots in a 5-2 victory against Canada in an Olympic preparation game in Quebec City on Oct. 22, 2017.
Having already played an integral role in the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team, including helpintg Team USA to gold at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, Rooney will return this fall to the University of Minnesota Duluth for her junior season with the Bulldogs after taking her Olympic sabbatical to train with Team USA.
A native of Andover, Minnesota, Rooney is the daughter of Mike and Jayne Rooney and has one half-brother, Brian.
The Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Award is bestowed annually on a top U.S. women’s hockey player at the international, collegiate, high school or club level.
Omaha Lancers netminder Zach Driscoll led the USHL in shutouts this season with eight, ranked second in save percentage with a .934 mark and third in goals-against average at 1.90. His eight shutouts in a single season were the third most in Lancers history.
Driscoll earned USHL Goaltender-of-the-Week recognition on four different occasions, including Nov. 13, Jan. 8, Jan. 29 and April 9. The Minnesota native ended the regular season with a 23-9-1-1 record and was named to the USHL Second All-Star Team.
Driscoll has also played for St. Cloud State University, the Penticton Vees (BCHL), Austin Bruins (NAHL) and Eastview High (USHS) in addition to his time in the USHL. Driscoll led Eastview to its second ever trip to the state tournament in 2013, and he became the first player from Eastview to be named to the First Team AP All-State team in 2014.
In December 2017, Driscoll committed to Bemidji State University for the 2018-19 season.
The 21-year-old grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He is the son of Kim and Dave Driscoll, and has one sister, Courtney.
The Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award, presented by Bauer, is given annually to a top U.S. goaltender at the international, professional, collegiate or junior level.
Dick Haney served as USA Hockey’s referee in chief for the Minnkota District from 1986-1995, and is currently a trusted advisor to Minnesota and USA Hockey officials nationwide.
Haney began his hockey career as a coach in Duluth, Minnesota, at Glen Avon from 1970-1984. While there, he served on the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association Board of Directors, and led a 12U team to the city championship in 1974.
He then transitioned to refereeing in the late 1970s, officiating outdoor youth games in the Duluth region. In 1978, Haney became a registered USA Hockey official, refereeing youth games up to the 14U level.
Haney helped found the Minnesota Hockey Officials Association in 1984 and served as an officer with the association for four years. The association honored him with the President’s Award for his exemplary service to the organization in 1993. Haney was also a key member of USA Hockey’s first body-checking task force appointed during the 1993-94 season, and served on USA Hockey’s youth council from 1992 to 1995. It was during Haney’s tenure that the Minnkota District became the benchmark for development and education of officials across the United States.
From 1987-1993, Haney participated in or planned numerous district officiating seminars, and also managed Minnesota Hockey’s officiating scheduling.
Haney was a supervisor of USA Hockey’s National Tournaments in the 1990s, in addition to serving as the USA Hockey Officiating Development Camp director in Lake Placid, N.Y.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Marquette, Mich.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and St. Cloud, Minn.
For 30 years, Haney has helped officiate outdoor tournament games in the Duluth area, often refereeing games of his 10U- and 12U-aged grandsons. He acts as a consultant and mentor for Minnesota and USA Hockey officials still today, and his contributions continue to impact youth hockey.
By day, Haney created and directed the Recreational Sports Outdoor Program and taught for the University of Minnesota Duluth. He was married for more than 40 years to Patricia Ryan Haney who passed away in 2015. They shared seven children and 11 grandchildren.
The Chet Stewart Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the USA Hockey Officiating Education Program during many years of service to the hockey community as an official and/or volunteer.
In a hockey life spanning some six decades, Dean Blais cut a wide trail of lofty accomplishments through every level of the game.
Lesser known but no less decorated as a championship player, Blais lifted trophies in high school, college and professional hockey as a hard-charging winger. Notable triumphs to be sure, but they became mere footnotes for Blais, whose career ascended highest behind the bench, as a championship coach. His most storied conquests came as head coach at the University of North Dakota, when he twice guided the Fighting Sioux to NCAA Division I men’s national championships.
Blais will be forever revered as a college coach, but he proved his coaching keenness at much more than a single level of the sport. He won in high school hockey, both in North Dakota and in Minnesota. He won in junior hockey, leading Fargo to the USHL’s Clark Cup Final. He won in international hockey, steering Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship. He even won at the NHL level, helping guide the Columbus Blue Jackets as an associate coach.
In all, Blais amassed 408 NCAA coaching victories, a total that placed him among the top 20 of all time. He is a two-time Spencer Penrose Award recipient as the top men’s coach in NCAA Division I ice hockey and also a four-time WCHA Coach of the Year selection. He led the Fighting Sioux to three NCAA Frozen Four appearances (including two national titles) and guided the University of Nebraska Omaha to another. Blais also coached the U.S. National Junior Team in 1993 and 2012, and served on the U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team coaching staff in 1992.
A native of International Falls, Minnesota, Blais capped his coaching career in 2017 with yet another winning college season – his 14th – before embarking on retirement with his wife, Jackie.
The Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to a U.S. citizen who has made hockey his or her profession and has made outstanding contributions on or off the ice to the sport in the United States.