Black Hawks Skater Named USHL’s Defenseman of the Year
Winning the United States Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year award would have seemed like an unlikely highlight of the 2017/18 season when Ben Finkelstein was skating during October.
The 20-year-old was a sophomore at St. Lawrence University, but after appearing in 20 Saints games, he joined the Hawks in January, making a big splash during an abbreviated junior hockey career.
USHL General Managers voted Finkelstein the league’s best defenseman, although he arrived in time to skate in just 23 regular season contests. During that span, he provided a huge scoring boost, with 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists). Finkelstein’s contributions on the ice and as an assistant captain helped Waterloo earn the Anderson Cup for the league’s best regular season record.
“It’s not very often that a player can change his team’s season, but I think everybody knows he’s a very special player, and in a lot of ways, he’s a special kid, too” said Hawks Head Coach and General Manager P.K. O’Handley.
In just his third appearance for Waterloo, Finkelstein matched the league’s single-game scoring peak for the 2017/18 season by recording six points (one goal, five assists) versus the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He ended the year tied for seventh in scoring by league defensemen.
Finkelstein’s honor marks the fifth time a Black Hawk has been named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Year. Current Anaheim Ducks standout Brandon Montour claimed the title most recently in 2014. The other Waterloo winners have been John Gruden (1990), Doug Schmidt (1997), and Blake Kessel (2008).
Next season, Finkelstein will return to the NCAA with Boston College. In 2016, he was a Florida Panthers draft pick.
Contributed By: Tim Harwood (Waterloo Black Hawks Media Relations)