As the Catmounts continue to move toward the end of the regular season, no one has supplied more offense speed and support like their top scorer, junior forward Viktor Stalberg.
Stalberg is the team’s top scorer this season, with 20 goals and 16 assists.
Stalberg is the team’s most consistent scorer and also a stellar student off the ice for the Catamounts, maintaining a 3.6 GPA in Business Administration.
“He’s got a lot of respect because he works hard everyday,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said on Stalberg’s impact on the team. “He’s a model citizen – younger guys look up to him.”
Stalberg’s performance this year has created enough buzz that he has recently been announced as a candidate for the 2009 Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the best player in all of college hockey.
The award takes character and scholastic achievement into consideration as well as production on the ice.
Fans also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite player online. If Stalberg wins the Hobey Baker, he will be the first player in UVM school history to do so.
Despite the magnitude of this achievement, Stalberg remains humble and focused on the goals of the team heading into the season’s final stretch.
“It’s always fun to get some personal recognition, but without the team this year I would not have a chance,” Stalberg said. “I think personal awards are just something to look at after the year. Right now, I’m just focused on trying to help the team out as much as possible.”
Athletic Communications created a new Web site, www.pickvik.com, to get the word out about Stalberg’s consideration for the Hobey Baker. It gives general information about Stalberg’s performance this season and gives fans a chance to vote.
“It’s a good promotional tool for me to maybe have a better chance of getting this award,” Stalberg said. “I’m getting made fun of a little bit in the locker room but it’s definitely a fun thing.”
The top-ten candidates for the Hobey Baker Award will be announced on March 19, then three finalists will be announced on April 2.
The winner will be revealed on April 10 live on ESPNU.
As for the Catamounts, they are now sitting tied for third place in Hockey East and are ranked ninth nationally. Though the Cats have struggled a bit recently, Stalberg expressed confidence in the team moving forward.
“We obviously struggled the last couple of weekends but I think we’ve got to put those bad games behind us and try to work hard in practice this week,” Stalberg said. “We’ve seen that we can compete with the best teams in the country all year and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do that at the end of the year.”
At this point in his hockey career, Stalberg has already been drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is still uncertain what his future plans will be after this season.
“We’ll see what happens. When the time comes I’m going to have to sit down with my coaches and parents and discuss what’s the best route for me to take after this year,” Stalberg said.
After sweeping Maine this weekend, UVM will come back home to Gutterson Fieldhouse for a series against UNH to wrap up the regular season.