Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Duluth native and UMD senior captain Jack Connolly departed Thursday morning with his family ahead of Friday evening's 2012 Hobey Baker announcement.
Connolly would become UMD's fifth-ever player to win the Hobey Baker, the most-ever of any school in the nation.
"I just committed to come here and play some college hockey," Connolly said of his four years as a Bulldog, "trying to get as many wins for UMD as I possibly could."
The numbers for Connolly's career speak for themselves --- 166 consecutive games played, 197 career points, 74 regular season wins, 17 postseason wins, one Broadmoor trophy, and one NCAA national championship.
Now, he hopes to add one Hobey Baker.
"With [Tom] Kurvers, [Bill Watson, [Chris] Marinucci, and [Junior] Lessard all being Hobey Baker winners, all are great people and great hockey players," Connolly said. "For me to maybe join that company is unbelievable for me."
Connolly's four-year career at UMD has been so impressive that many fans now know AMSOIL Arena by a different name, that being "The House That Jack Built."
"He loves Duluth. He loved the opportunity to play in Duluth," Jack's father, Mark Connolly, said, "and I think he feels he has a special relationship with the area's fan base because they have just taken him under their wing."
It was a fellow Northlander who first believed in the collegiate potential of Jack Connolly.
Now, the efforts of UMD head coach and Hibbing native Scott Sandelin have not gone unnoticed.
"He put me in positions to succeed," Jack said of Sandelin. "He put his trust in me to go out there and try to produce night in and night out for the program, so I owe a lot to him for giving me the opportunity to succeed."
"I think he's matured a lot. He's become a better all-around player," Sandelin said of his senior captain. "He's been a great leader, and he doesn't lead by vocal, he leads by example."