Courtesy ACHA --
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Bre Simon, a junior forward from Hamline University and Elk River, MN, is the recipient of the 2019 Laura Hurd Award. The award, voted on by the nation's Division III head coaches, is presented to the best player at the NCAA Women's Division III level.
Simon leads the nation in scoring with a line of 26-37-63 in 28 games heading into Friday's NCAA semifinal vs. the University of St. Thomas, host of this year's NCAA Women's Division III Frozen Four. Through three seasons, Simon has 74-72-146. She averages better than 2.25 points per game. Said Pipers head coach Natalie Darwitz, "Bre scored a point against every single team she faced this season. She is the backbone of our team and it begins and ends with Bre. She is a coach's dream. Not only does she put up points, but she does all of the little things you love to see as a coach, both on and off the ice."
From late November through early February, Simon helped Hamline to a 17-game undefeated stretch (14-0-3), in which she averaged 2.35 points per game.
Simon is the first player from Hamline to win the Hurd Award. The runner-up for this year's Hurd Award is Kenzie Torpy, a senior goaltender at the University of St. Thomas and a native of Oregon, WI.
The award is named in honor of former Elmira College star Laura Hurd who died in a car accident shortly after graduation. Hurd was a four-time All-American who led Elmira to victory in the first NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship.
For leading his team into the NCAA Women's Division III semifinals with a 25-1-2 record, Tom Palkowski of the University of St. Thomas has been chosen by his peers as the 2019 CCM/AHCA Women's Division III Coach of the Year. It is the first such honor for Palkowski, St. Thomas and the MIAC.
Palkowski and the Tommies will take on a familiar foe when they meet Hamline in a 7:00 NCAA semifinal on Friday night. The two schools met in the MIAC championship game on March 2 with St. Thomas prevailing by a 2-0 score.
This was a record-setting season for St. Thomas who earned a No. 1 in the country ranking for the first time and also won 25 games for the first time. The Tommies played near-perfect hockey in the MIAC Tournament, starting with a 4-0 win over Gustavus Adolphus in the semifinals before sealing the title with the 2-0 blanking of Hamline.
Palkowski is completing his 12th season at the helm of the Tommies and his 31st overall as a hockey coach. Prior to succeeding Kevin Gorg as St. Thomas head coach, he served two decades as an assistant coach at both the high school and collegiate levels, his last assisting role being with Coach Gorg. His career record with one weekend left in this dream season is 202-85-36 (.681).
A native of Columbia Heights, MN, Palkowski played one year of college hockey at Illinois-Chicago before completing three seasons at St. Thomas. Despite only playing three full seasons, Palkowski totalled168 points (71-97), still good for seventh on the school's all-time scoring list.
Palkowski was assisted this season by Kristi King, Marty Sertich and Drew Fielding. The runner-up for this year's award was Meghan Gillis of Williams College.