Big Rapids, Mich. - Junior goaltender CJ Motte (St. Clair, Mich.) of the Ferris State University men's ice hockey squad has been chosen as the national winner of the 2014 Premier Player of College Hockey Award.
The Premier Player Trophy is presented annually to collegiate athletes the fans vote as the best in the sports of baseball, basketball (M & W), football, hockey and softball. A poll is released at the beginning of a sports season with a list of top athletes for fans to follow. At midseason, the poll is adjusted to include up to five additional highly performing athletes. Fans then have until the end of the season to vote for The Premier Player of his or her sport.
The five athletes with the most votes are later invited to a charitable dinner where the overall winner is presented. Proceeds from the charitable awards dinners go to The Premier Players Sports Foundation and other nonprofits with a focus on orphaned, foster care or special needs children.
Motte was joined on the list of five national finalists by Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau, senior forward Michael Mersch of Wisconsin, junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere of Union along with sophomore goalie Connor Hellebuyck of UMass-Lowell. However, Motte received nearly 93% of the final vote in earning the award.
Past winners of the prestigious honor have recently included St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc in 2013 along with Minnesota-Duluth's Jack Connolly in 2012.
Motte, who was also named as a top 10 finalist for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award presented to college hockey's most outstanding player, helped the Bulldogs to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Regular-Season Championship in their debut season. FSU also finished as the WCHA Final Five Runner-Up and reached the NCAA Elite Eight this past season.
This year, Motte moved into second place in career victories for a Bulldog goaltender and now owns a 48-29-10 career record to date. His 28 total wins in net this season ranked as the second-best seasonal figure in school history behind the 30 wins posted by Mike Brown in the memorable 2002-03 campaign.
Motte was also among the nominees for the inaugural Mike Richter Goaltender of the Year honor and is the latest in a series of talented Bulldog goaltenders over the past decade that most recently also included former All-Americans Pat Nagle (2011) and Taylor Nelson (2012). His total of 28 wins this season was three more than any other goaltender in the country heading into the NCAA Tournament.
The junior standout's play helped the Bulldogs compile a nation-leading 29 victories overall, which ranks second on FSU's all-time single season chart. He tallied an overall 28-9-3 mark in net with five shutout victories along with a 2.17 goals against average and a .928 save percentage this year while ranking among the nation's top five leaders in winning percentage.
More information on the trophy presentation will be announced at a later date.