By April 2006, Matt Carle’s rink resume already overflowed with accomplishment.
The Anchorage native had won two national championships at the University of Denver. He was a two-time All-American and had led the nation’s defensemen in scoring. He had been voted the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Player of the Year. And weeks earlier, Carle had turned pro with the San Jose Sharks — forgoing his senior season — and scored a goal in his NHL debut. He was the first defenseman from Alaska to play in the world’s best league.
Yet on that Friday night in April 2006, there still was a piece of hockey hardware for Carle to add. He won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s best player.
“This is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Carle said that night in Milwaukee.
Admired as an effortless skater with a high hockey IQ, preternatural poise and ample skills, Carle also exhibited complementary attributes Hobey Baker voters prized – character, sportsmanship, leadership and strong academics.
Carle’s success continued in the NHL, where in his first 10 years he twice played in the Stanley Cup Final — once with the Philadelphia Flyers and once with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Carle remains the only Alaskan to hoist the Hobey, revered as the Heisman Trophy of college hockey.