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April 12. 2014 7:25PM

NH College Notebook: Londonderry's O'Connor receives major Hockey East award

University of Maine hockey defenseman Brice O'Connor - of the Londonderry O'Connors - pulled down a major college hockey award on Friday.

O'Connor was named the recipient of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, presented by the Hockey Commissioners Association.

Hines played at Army from 1999-2003 and was a captain of the hockey team his senior year. He was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan on Sept. 1, 2005. The award recognizes Hines as "the consummate team player and team builder."

O'Connor concluded his four-year career at Maine last month.

As the Black Bears captain he was the liaison between the team and the school's administration during a transition to first-year head coach Red Gendron, a Berlin native. Gendron took over for Tim Whitehead, who coached Kimball Union Academy in Meriden this year.

"In 34 years of coaching at virtually every level of our game, I've seen one or two captains as good as Brice, but none better," Gendron said in a release about the award. "He holds himself daily to the highest possible standards and holds his teammates accountable to the same. He models the right behaviors and is vocal in getting his teammates to adhere to the same high standards."

A finance major with a minor in innovated engineering, O'Connor is a three-time Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner and three-time member of the Hockey East All-Academic team.

He had two goals and seven assists for 34 points as a senior.

O'Connor turned professional after the season ended and had one assist in seven games with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL as of Saturday.

Brice's brother, Ian, plays forward for the Manchester Monarchs. Ian had a goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games with the Monarchs going into Saturday night's game against Portland. Ian O'Connor, who played at Providence College, had two goals in 17 games with the Monarchs last season.

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Three former University of New Hampshire hockey players who finished up their careers in a Hockey East championship game loss to UMass-Lowell three weeks ago, are about a half a dozen games into their pro careers. All are playing in the American Hockey League.

Forward Kevin Goumas had a goal and two assists in six games with the Adirondack Phantoms and forward Nick Sorkin did not have a point in six with the Hamilton Bulldogs heading into Saturday night games.

Defenseman Eric Knodel has two assists in five games with the Toronto Marlies. Former Wildcat forward Trevor Smith has 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points for the Marlies.

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk joined the AHL's Rockford IceHogs after signing with the Chicago Blackhawks after UNH's season ended. Van Riemsdyk has not played since breaking his ankle in a game against Union in mid-January. He passed on his final year of collegiate eligibility to sign.

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PLYMOUTH State University's Associate Athletic Director and former ski racing coach Kim Bownes has been named the 2014 Theo Kalikow Award winner for her efforts in advancing women's issues.

Bownes has been an administrator in the athletics department since 2008 and served as the men's and women's varsity ski coach for 21 years. She is the past recipient of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference MacConnell Division Coach of the Year award and the Walter Smith Coaches Award. She earned a bachelor's from McGill University and a master's from Plymouth State.

Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen presented the award to Bownes at an April 10 ceremony.

The Theo Kalikow Award is named after a former PSU administrator who has been an effective advocate for improving the status of women. The award honors a faculty or staff member who has significantly contributed to the advancement of women's issues and is presented annually by the PSU President's Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW).

"College Notebook" is compiled by the staff of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Submissions may be emailed to sports@unionleader.com.


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