Porter, Morrison Connected in More Ways Than One
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
DENVER Kevin Porter was putting together his notes, compiling what he might say should he be named the Hobey Baker Award winner. He wrote down that he wanted to give good wishes to "BC and ND," in other words, to Boston College and Notre Dame for the championship game.
Unfortunately, Porter, in his nervousness, said "North Dakota" instead of "Notre Dame." Though he was quickly corrected to much chuckling.
But his gaffe will go down as only the second-most-talked-about in Michigan Hobey lore.
When Brendan Morrison won Michigan's only other Hobey in 1997, the Wolverines, like this year, had just lost a semifinal that they were heavily favored to win.
Here's the scene: The Hobey ceremony was very different then, because it was a well-known fact long before hand who won the Hobey. Today, the winner is kept secret. Back then, only the winner was invited to the ceremony, making the whole thing pretty obvious. So the whole room in the Milwaukee hotel where the ceremony was done, was filled with Wolverine fans, and Morrison's Michigan teammates.
Morrison then stood up, accepted the award, and famously stated that "the best team doesn't always win," a statement that was met with a defiant cheer from the Michigan fans in attendance, and derision across America from fans who thought Morrison was being less than gracious. Whether Morrison meant it as negatively as it came out is for everyone else to decipher — personally, I was standing five feet from him at the time, and didn't take it negatively — but his comment has become an annual topic of discussion.
So when Porter was making out those notes, did anyone remind him that he might not want to make a similar comment?
"No, not at all," Porter said.
Had he heard the Morrison story?
"No. But I feel a lot better now."
Kevin Porter is hardly the only player from a losing Frozen Four semifinal team to win the Hobey Baker Award.
In fact, it's incredibly common. Five of the last eight award winners played for teams that lost the FF semis, and it's happened eight times overall.
Here's the whole list.
Hobey winners whose team did not make it to the FF (n = 10)
Matt Carle, Denver, 2006 (Team did not make it to NCAA tournament)
Peter Sejna, Colorado College, 2003
Chris Drury, Boston University, 1998
Brian Bonin, Minnesota, 1996
Brian Holzinger, Bowling Green, 1995 (Team did not make NCAA tournament)
Chris Marinucci, Minnesota-Duluth, 1994 (Team did not make NCAA tournament)
Scott Pellerin, Maine, 1992
David Emma, Boston College, 1991
Kip Miller, Michigan State, 1990
George McPhee, Bowling Green, 1982
Hobey winners whose team lost in the FF semis (n = 8)
Kevin Porter, Michigan, 2008 (Lost to BC)
Ryan Duncan, North Dakota, 2007 (Lost to BC)
Marty Sertich, Colorado College, 2005 (Lost to Denver)
Junior Lessard, Minnesota-Duluth, 2004 (Lost to Denver)
Ryan Miller, Michigan State, 2001 (Lost to North Dakota)
Brendan Morrison, Michigan, 1997 (Lost to BU)
Robb Stauber, Minnesota, 1988 (Lost to St. Lawrence)
Bill Watson, Minnesota-Duluth, 1985 (Lost to RPI)
Hobey winners whose team lost in the NC game (n = 6)
Mike Mottau, Boston College, 2000 (Lost to North Dakota)
Jason Krog, New Hampshire, 1999 (Lost to Maine)
Scott Fusco, Harvard, 1986 (Lost to Michigan State)
Tom Kurvers, Minnesota-Duluth, 1984 (Lost to Bowling Green)
Mark Fusco, Harvard, 1983 (Lost to Wisconsin)
Neal Broten, Minnesota, 1981 (Lost to Wisconsin)
Hobey winners whose team won the NC (n = 4)
Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, 2002 (Beat Maine)
Paul Kariya, Maine, 1993 (Beat Lake Superior)
Lane MacDonald, Harvard, 1989 (Beat Minnesota)
Tony Hrkac, North Dakota, 1987 (Beat Michigan State)
Avash Kalra contributed to this report.