Spartans Wrap Up Season With Annual Awards Program
Taro Hirose voted MVP.
EAST LANSING - The Spartan hockey program held its annual awards program on Monday (April 16) night at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.
Senior Carson Gatt was the winner of three honors, including the Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player, Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior and the Blue Line Club President’s Award. Gatt, who served as one of three assistant captains for the Spartans this year, produced a career-high 19 points (4g, 15a) in earning All-Big Ten honorable mention. The political theory and constitutional democracy major carries a 3.47 GPA and earned his third consecutive Academic All-Big Ten honor this season.
Sophomore Taro Hirose was voted the Outstanding Offensive Player and claimed the newly-named Ron Mason Most Valuable Player honor. Hirose’s team-leading 42 points (12g, 30a) were the most by a Spartan in eight seasons. He finished the regular season second in the Big Ten in both points and assists and was selected to the All-Big Ten second team.
Mitchell Lewandowski, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was named the Outstanding Rookie after leading all conference freshmen in goals (19) and points (34).
Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko nearly doubled his production from his rookie season, putting up 34 points, and was voted the Most Improved Player. He ranked second the team in both goals (13) and assists (19).
Junior Brennan Sanford won the Amo Bessone Award, recognizing athletic and academic achievement and community participation.
The family of former Spartan hockey player Steve Swistak (2000-04) was on hand to present a newly-created honor in his name as the Steve Swistak Memorial Scholarship was presented to Sam Saliba. Following his hockey career at MSU, Swistak went on to graduate from medical school before being diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which eventually claimed his life in June 2015. The Swistak Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a Spartan hockey player who embodies Steve’s qualities – hard work, dedication, teamwork and grit.
Jim Slater was this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Spartan Award. Slater played 10 seasons in the NHL and has since gone on to play professionally in Switzerland. This past year, he played for the United States in the Olympic Games. As a Spartan from 2001-05, Slater compiled 172 points, good for 23rd most in MSU history.
2018 Spartan Hockey Team Award Winners
Distinguished Spartan Award – Jim Slater
Ron Mason MVP – Taro Hirose
Spartan Shield Award – Butrus Ghafari
Bill Burgess Outstanding Senior – Carson Gatt
Outstanding Offensive Player – Taro Hirose
Dr. John Downs Outstanding Defensive Player – Carson Gatt
Amo Bessone Award – Brennan Sanford
Most Improved Player – Patrick Khodorenko
Outstanding Rookie – Mitchell Lewandowski
Spartan Fitness Award – Patrick Khodorenko, Logan Lambdin, Zach Osburn
Steve Swistak Memorial Scholarship – Sam Saliba
Blue Line Club President’s Award – Carson Gatt
Goofus Award – Jake Smith