The name Eau Claire means "clear water." I'm not sure what's in the water in Eau Claire but I want my future kids to start drinking it. In what has become a common trend, another Eau Claire native has been named the winner of the Wisconsin Mr. Hockey Award.
This season's winner, announced tonight at a banquet in Madison is Eau Claire Memorial goaltender Saxton Soley. Soley was outstanding for the Old Abes this season leading the state in every major statistical category. His wins (21), GAA (1.20) and save percentage (.943) look like video game stats.
Soley becomes the third Eau Claire native to win the award in the past 6 years. Eau Claire North, and current North Dakota Fighting Sioux defenseman Derrick LaPoint started the trend in 2006 bringing home the hardware to the city for the first time. Eau Claire Memorial, and current Wisconsin Badger forward Jefferson Dahl followed in his footsteps winning it in 2008.
While winning this award is nice, Soley will be looking for some additional hardware to bring back to the Chippewa Valley this weekend. Soley leads Memorial in to the State Tournament which starts tomorrow when they open up quarter-final action against the Wisconsin Dells Co-Op. Soley was a freshman the last time the Old Abes won the WIAA State Title (their first and only).
Saxton was also phenomenal for Team Wisconsin this fall as the starter for the U18 squad in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League. It shall be interesting to see what Soley's future entails. His older brother Seth, another former standout for Memorial played two seasons at Michigan Tech before transferring to St. Norberts this season. Soley will undoubtedly be given an opportunity in the USHL next season and depending on his development should see some division 1 interest.
Other finalists for the Mr. Hockey award this season were Wisconsin recruit and Waupaca forward Brad Navin who was forced to miss the second half of the season due to a knee injury, Garrett Clemment from Wausau West, Cal DeRosier from Ashwaubenon, Chris Beglinger from Madison Edgewood, Simon Leahy from University School, Trevor Hoth from Stoughton, Evan Janssen from Green Bay United, and Soley's teammate from EC Memorial, Alex Dahl, younger brother of Jefferson.
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