- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen, Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy or BU forward Colin Wilson will join rare company Friday night when one of them wins the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation's best college hockey player.

It's a group that includes Washington Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee. McPhee, who posted 80 points as a Bowling Green senior in 1982 to win the award, has stayed around Verizon Center all week for the Frozen Four festivities.

“We were told about a month before the season ended that there were 10 candidates and I was one of them,” he said. “I thought it was pretty neat recognition, but you never really think you will win it.”

The win proved bittersweet for McPhee. Bowling Green's season ended in the quarterfinals with an overtime loss to Northeastern. McPhee finished his career with 267 points.

“It was difficult because we had just been eliminated. So to have your college career over and then an hour later, your coach tells you, 'By the way, you won the Hobey Baker Award,' it was certainly mixed emotions,” he said. “It was neat to win it, but I had just failed in trying to win a national championship.”

McPhee skipped the Caps' three-game road trip this week to attend the Frozen Four, but he's also meeting with Bowling Green officials Friday to discuss the struggles of school's hockey program.

The Falcons have endured 12 consecutive losing seasons. A $10 million budget shortfall in the athletic department postponed a planned $4 million renovation of Bowling Green's 42-year old arena. Rumors swirled that the school would drop hockey, although athletic director Greg Christopher said last month the Falcons will play in 2009-10.

McPhee helped initiate the meeting with Christopher, and he involved former Bowling Green players.

“In some ways, I feel far removed from college hockey because I spend so much time at the pro level,” he said. “But I did talk to [Christopher] a few times and did write a letter to the school president [Carol Cartwright]. We're going to talk about the program.

“It can't just be about the program surviving. If they're going to be serious about the program, they have to make a commitment that the program is not only here to stay, but it will be a really good one. It can be a really good one because it was a powerhouse for two decades.”

Life of luxury

Boston University's Gilroy, John McCarthy, Brandon Yip and Steve Smolinski have been roommates since their freshman year. Their accommodations have improved since living in a dorm.

The quartet lives in a 15th-floor penthouse apartment overlooking the Charles River. The place has been in the BU family for a couple of years.

“We'll move out and the juniors will move in,” McCarthy said.

Said Gilroy: “It's pretty sweet. People say, 'Matty, you'll never have a nicer apartment than this.' ”

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