EAST LANSING - The Michigan State hockey program officially wrapped-up the 2016-17 season with its annual awards program on Saturday (April 15) at Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Senior Joe Cox came away as the evening’s big winner as he took home four awards.
Cox was named winner of the Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior, Spartan Shield, Amo Bessone and Blue Line Club President’s Awards. The senior captain from Chelsea carries a 3.72 GPA and will graduate with a degree in accounting next month. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
The Amo Bessone Award, which honors athletic and academic achievement and community participation, was the second straight for Cox. Cox never missed a game in his four seasons and compiled 69 career points in 143 contests.
Upon receiving the Bessone Award, Cox passed the honor on to classmate Chris Knudson.
Cox joins Shawn Horcoff in 2000 (MVP, Outstanding Offensive Player, Outstanding Senior, Blue Line Club President’s Award) and Jeff Lerg in 2009 (MVP, Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior, Amo Bessone Award, Blue Line Club President’s Award) as players that have won four team awards in the same season.
Sophomore Mason Appleton was named Team MVP as well as the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player. Appleton had a career-best 31 points, 12 goals and 19 assists to lead the Spartans in all three categories this past season. He had seven multi-point games and averaged a point-per-game over the final 12 contests of the year.
Junior defenseman Carson Gatt was the third Spartan to take home multiple awards as he was voted the Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Improved Player. Gatt had a career-high 12 points including the first three goals of his career while earning All-Big Ten honorable mention.
Taro Hirose was voted the team’s Outstanding Rookie after ranking second on the team in both points (24) and assists (18).
Alum Frank Finn was this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Spartan Award. Finn, who donned the Green and White from 1978-82, was part of Ron Mason’s first three teams at MSU. He helped the Spartans to their first CCHA Playoff title and the first of the program’s nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in his final season. Finn has gone on to a successful international business career that has included stops in Prague and London while with Pepsi and Shell Oil, respectively.
2017 Spartan Hockey Team Award Winners
Distinguished Spartan Award – Frank Finn
Team MVP – Mason Appleton
Spartan Shield Award – Joe Cox
Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior – Joe Cox
Outstanding Offensive Player – Mason Appleton
Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player – Carson Gatt
Amo Bessone Award – Joe Cox (given by Cox to Chris Knudson)
Most Improved Player – Carson Gatt
Outstanding Rookie – Taro Hirose
Spartan Fitness Award – Brennan Sanford
Blue Line Club President’s Award – Joe Cox
Goofus Award – Anthony Scarsella