Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation are proud to announce the creation of the Mike Richter Award to annually honor the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The inaugural award will be presented during the 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four.
Candidates for the Mike Richter Award will be determined by nominations from all 59 NCAA Division I men’s hockey head coaches. The finalists and winner will then be selected by a committee of coaches, scouts and members of the media.
Criteria for the Mike Richter Award:
Candidates must display outstanding skills on the ice
Candidates should be in good academic standing at an NCAA college or university
Consideration should be given to academic achievement and sportsmanship
Candidates must comply with all NCAA rules; be full-time students at an NCAA college or university; and complete 50 percent or more of the season
Consideration should be given to the candidate’s activities in the community
Largely considered one of the top goaltenders of the last 30 years, Mike Richter played youth hockey in Pennsylvania and New York before heading to the University of Wisconsin to stop pucks for the Badgers. In two seasons in Madison, Richter was named the 1986 WCHA Freshman of the Year and earned All-WCHA second team honors in 1987.
After two seasons in the IHL, Richter made his NHL debut in the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the New York Rangers. Playing full-time for the Rangers beginning with the 1990-91 season, he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie in just his second full season in the NHL.
After splitting goaltending duties with veteran John Vanbiesbrouck for several seasons, Richter was made the Rangers’ primary starter for the 1993-94 season. He went on to post a career-best 42 wins and 2.57 goals-against average that year as the Rangers won the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top regular-season team. In the playoffs, Richter backstopped New York to the Stanley Cup Finals where Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win their first Stanley Cup since 1940. During the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he became the eighth goaltender to post four shutouts in one playoff season.
Consistently ranked one of the world’s best goaltenders, Richter played in 666 games during his 14-year NHL career, all with the Rangers. His 301 wins are more than any other Rangers goaltender and he was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career. Richter's jersey (#35) became the third number retired by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 4, 2004.
Richter was also a standout on the international stage, tending the net for Team USA for parts of three decades. He is one of just 10 Americans ever to compete in at least three Olympic Games (1988, 1998, 2002), including in 2002 when he helped the team capture the silver medal. In addition, he led Team USA to the World Cup of Hockey championship in 1996 and was named the tournament's MVP. He also played in two IIHF World Junior Championships (1985-86), three IIHF Men's World Championships (1986-87, 1993) and the 1991 Canada Cup.
Richter was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.
“I am incredibly honored to have this award named after me considering all of the many talented goalies that have played college hockey over the years,” Richter said, “My time as a student-athlete at Madison was deeply rewarding both personally and professionally, and I am thrilled to be able to share in this tradition with the current generation of athletes by having my name associated with an award that will specifically honor the goaltending position.”
“It's an honor to be associated with the Mike Richter Award,” Herb Brooks Foundation board member Dan Brooks said. “Like my dad, Mike’s leadership and work ethic were unparalleled. Both were American heroes. I was fortunate to be at the last game my dad ever coached. Fittingly, Mike was in the net.”