On Monday afternoon, UConn men’s ice hockey forward Tage Thompson was selected as a semifinalist for the 65th Walter Brown Award. The award is given out each year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.
The Orange, Conn. native arrived at UConn last year with great fanfare, leading his USA squad to a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Switzerland. He appeared in all 36 of the Huskies games while finishing second on the team with 32 points. Following his freshman season, Thompson was selected 26th overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He is the highest drafted player in UConn men’s ice hockey program history.
This year, Thompson has been even better. He is currently the Huskies’ leading scorer with 27 points on 17 goals and 10 assists. His 17 goals have Thompson tied for third in the Hockey East and tied for sixth nationally. He has been a consistent source of offense for UConn, netting at least one point in 16 of 26 games this season. He has also improved his plus-minus number from a -14 last year to a +3 in 2016-2017. Thompson has helped this year’s UConn team already match its conference wins total from last season with six Hockey East matchups remaining on the schedule.
Hockey’s roots run deep in Thompson’s family. His father, Brent, was a 1989 draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings and spent time between the Kings, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Phoenix Coyotes, playing in 121 NHL games. Brent went on to serve as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders before being named head coach of the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 2015, Tage’s younger brother, Tyce, committed to playing hockey at Providence College.
Thompson is one of 23 NCAA Division I players selected as semifinalists for the award. The finalists and the winner will be announced in March after league playoffs but prior to the start of NCAA tournament play. The winner will be presented with the award at the New England College Hockey Writers’ Dinner in April.
The Huskies will next host the Providence Friars on Feb. 8 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.