HAMDEN, Conn. Quinnipiac senior Bryan Leitch (Coquitlam, B.C.) has been chosen as one of 36 men's college ice hockey players in the nation to participate in the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition, to take place on April 10 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Leitch is one of three ECAC Hockey players selected to compete in the event. Leitch is the second Quinnipiac men's ice hockey player selected for the Skills Competition after Reid Cashman was also chosen during the 2005-06 season.
The competition will be conducted in an East versus West format with each team having six male position players, six female position players, two male goaltenders and two female goaltenders. An alternate list has been established in the event that players have to withdraw from the competition due to other commitments, such as their team's participation in the Men's NCAA Frozen Four.
To be eligible, all players must have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and be nominated by their head coach. The players were selected by representatives from the American Hockey Coaches Association, the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee and the National Youth Sports Corporation. The competitions will include puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, rapid fire shooting, accuracy shooting and penalty shot. Each competitor will receive a complete set of equipment and a full uniform from Bauer Hockey.
Leitch finished the regular season as the national leader in points (53) and assists (42). The honor is the latest in a series of honors given to the senior forward. Earlier this season, Leitch was announced as a Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidate. He has also been named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week three times, becoming just the third player in league history to do so. In addition, Leitch earned Toyota UConn Hockey Classic Most Valuable Player honors after helping the Bobcats to a 4-2 win over Air Force in the championship game. Leitch was later named the Insidecollegehockey.com National Player of the Week as the Bobcats were highlighted by Collegehockeynews.com as the National Team of the Week.
Leitch was the first player in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey this season to reach both the 40-point and 50-point marks. Leitch also reached the 40-assist mark this past weekend. He entered Saturday's game against Dartmouth with 39 assists before handing out three helpers in the Bobcats' win. With 42 assists, Leitch became the first player in the Bobcats' Division I history and just the second player at Quinnipiac all-time to record 40 assists in a single season. The last Quinnipiac player to pass out 40 assists in one year was Todd Johnson, who recorded 42 during the 1986-87 season. That mark is also an all-time Quinnipiac University record. In addition, Leitch recorded his 50th point of the season, making him the fourth player in Quinnipiac's Division I history to reach the 50-point mark and the first since the 1999-2000 season.
With a win over Dartmouth this past weekend, Quinnipiac clinched the No. 7 seed in the ECAC Hockey Tournament and the right to home-ice advantage in the first round. The Bobcats will host No. 10 Colgate in the first-round series, set to being on Friday, Mar. 6 at 7 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. The best-of-three series will run through Sunday, Mar. 8 (if necessary). This year represents the third time that Quinnipiac will host Division I conference playoff games in program history. The Bobcats swept their two previous home playoff series (versus Union in 2007 and against Brown in 2008).