GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Junior Christian Wolanin, who became the first defenseman in 35 years to lead the University of North Dakota in scoring, has been voted UND’s Most Valuable Player by his teammates, highlighting the team’s 2017-18 awards that were announced on Thursday evening by head coach Brad Berry.
Wolanin received the Jeff Anderson Hockey Scholarship as team MVP after amassing 35 points in 40 games, making him the first defenseman since James Patrick in 1982-83 to lead the team in scoring. The Detroit, Mich., native scored a career-high 12 goals, one shy of the UND single-season record for defensemen, and led the nation’s rearguards with eight power-play goals.
Wolanin was named to the All-College Hockey News Second Team, the All-U.S. College Hockey Online Third Team and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s All-NCHC Second Team. Wolanin also received UND’s Virg Foss 3-Star Award for topping all Fighting Hawks in 3-star voting points following home games. Earlier this week, he was named UND’s Glenn “Red” Jarrett Male Athlete of the Year.
Following the season, Wolanin signed with Ottawa Senators and played in 10 National Hockey League games.
UND’s other 2017-18 team award recipients included:
Cliff “Fido” Purpur Award: Nick Jones (Junior | Forward)
- Given to the player who exemplifies hard work, determination and being a creator of excitement on the ice
- Led UND with 15 goals and ranked second on the team with 30 points, both career highs
Archie Krum Memorial Athletic Scholarship: Colton Poolman (Sophomore | Defenseman)
- Given to the player who demonstrates leadership qualities, high academic standards and athletic excellence
- Earned All-NCHC Honorable Mention accolades after collecting career-high seven goals and 22 points
Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship: Josh Rieger (Freshman | Defenseman)
- Given to the freshman who demonstrates initiative, character and a sense of responsibility
- Appeared in 17 games at defense and forward and had three assists with a plus-2 rating
Rookie of the Year: Grant Mismash (Forward)
- Named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team and was UND’s Male Freshman of the Year (all sports)
- Four-time NCHC Rookie of the Week had nine goals and 22 points in 38 games
Most Improved Player (co-recipient): Jordan Kawaguchi (Freshman | Forward)
- Collected 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) over his final 19 games after recording five points in his first 14 games
Most Improved Player (co-recipient): Cole Smith (Sophomore | Forward)
- Had career highs of five goals, 10 points and was a plus-7 in 37 games after 7-point freshman season
Coaches’ Unsung Hero Award: Rhett Gardner (Junior | Forward)
- Assistant captain led the NCHC in faceoff wins (459) despite missing seven games due to injury
- Scored seven goals and 20 points in 33 games and was named NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year
Plus/Minus Award: Colton Poolman (Sophomore | Defenseman)
- Award is given to the player who leads the team in plus/minus rating
- Recorded a team-leading and career-best plus-14 rating, which ranked sixth among NCHC defensemen