By Seth Daniel
Harvard University hockey player Jimmy Vesey, who has deep roots in Charlestown, was announced on Friday night as the top college hockey player in the nation – winning the Hobey Baker Award at a ceremony broadcast live on the NHL Network in Tampa.
Several family members from Charlestown were in attendance as the senior captain from the Harvard team collected his award and gave his acceptance speech. He had been a finalist last year, but did not win.
Vesey grew up in North Reading, but is the son of Jim and Ann Vesey. Jim Vesey, who played in the NHL and at Merrimack College, is a Charlestown hockey legend in his own right. Vesey has deep roots and many family members in Charlestown and maintains many ties in the Town, playing roller hockey at Eden Street in the summers with other Charlestown college hockey stars Matt Grzelcyk and Brendan Collier.
Vesey said in an earlier interview with the Patriot Bridge that though he grew up in North Reading, he spent a good deal of his time playing roller hockey with his friends and family members at Eden Street.
“The three of us were always playing street hockey at Eden Street playground,” he said. “Looking back, those are some of the best memories I had as a kid. You could go down there for a couple of hours and get away from everything and play hockey with your friends. I think the street hockey definitely carries over to the ice. We usually played three-on-three and that translated into a lot of skill development on the ice.”
Vesey beat out fellow Hat Trick finalists Thatcher Demko, a junior goaltender from Boston College, and Kyle Connor, a freshman forward from Michigan. Vesey was also named to the 2015-16 AHCA/CCM Hockey Men’s Division I East All-America Team, as announced by the AHCA during the Hobey Baker Award ceremony. Earlier in the day he was selected as a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American.
Vesey is the fourth Hobey honoree from Harvard joining Mark Fusco (1983), Scott Fusco (1986) and Lane MacDonald (1989).
Vesey becomes the first Harvard player to receive ACHA/CCM first team All-America honors twice in his career since MacDonald earned the honor in 1986-87 and 1988-89.
Vesey led the ECAC in goals (17) and points (32) during the conference portion of the schedule. He finished the year with a team-best 24 goals and 46 points.
Vesey will graduate in May with a degree in government. He leaves Harvard as one of the most prolific scorers in program history.
He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft.