Keith Ballard named MVP of Gopher hockey team

The Minnesota Gophers men's hockey team celebrated the 2003-04 season at a team banquet Saturday afternoon. Keith Ballard was named the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player by a vote of his teammates. Read more to find out the other award winners.

University of Minnesota junior defenseman Keith Ballard (Baudette, Minn.) was named the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player by a vote of his teammates following Minnesota's 2003-04 men's hockey season.

The awards were announced at the team's annual awards banquet at Mariucci Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Ballard was a 2003-04 All-American, a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist and an All-WCHA first-team selection after finishing the season with 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points in 37 games. He is alone in seventh place on UM's all-time list for goals by a defenseman with 33. Ballard also became the 11th defenseman in school history to tally 100 points. He has 33-67--100 for 11th place on Minnesota's points-by-a-defenseman list.

For the second consecutive season, senior three-year captain Grant Potulny (Grand Forks, N.D.) was named the recipient of the Elwin "Doc" Romnes Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and the Mike Crupi Most Determined Award. Potulny missed six games with a shoulder injury in the latter half of the season, but returned to the lineup to help lead the Golden Gophers to a fourth-place finish in the WCHA and a second consecutive WCHA Final Five Championship.

Senior forward Jon Waibel (Baudette, Minn.) was given the Dr. V. George Nagobads Unsung Hero Award. Waibel was a key member of Minnesota's penalty-killing unit and was a high-energy player in every shift for the Golden Gophers. Also a durable player, Waibel missed only seven games in his career.

Senior forward Troy Riddle (Minneapolis, Minn.) was awarded the Tom Mohr Playoff Most Valuable Player Award after tallying seven goals and six assists in six postseason games. Rounding out the awards were goaltender Kellen Briggs (Colorado Springs, Colo.) as the Frank Pond Rookie of the Year, defenseman Judd Stevens (Wayzata, Minn.) as the John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete and goaltender Justin Johnson (Ham Lake, Minn.) with the Donald M. Clark Community Service Award.

2003-04 Golden Gopher Hockey Awards

Donald M. Clark – Community Service Award: Justin Johnson

Frank Pond Rookie of the Year Award: Kellen Briggs

Elwin "Doc" Romnes Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Grant Potulny

Mike Crupi Most Determined Player Award: Grant Potulny

John Mayasich Outstanding Student Athlete Award: Judd Stevens

Dr. V. George Nagobads – Unsung Hero Award: Jon Waibel

Tom Mohr Playoff Most Valuable Player Award: Troy Riddle

John Mariucci Most Valuable Player: Keith Ballard

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