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Baldwin, O’Neil Caputure Honors

Minnetonka’s Sydney Baldwin was named the 2014 Ms. Hockey award winner and Hopkins Erin O’Neil won the Senior Goalie of the Year award yesterday at the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award banquet held at the River Center in St. Paul.

Baldwin is the first player from Minnetonka to win the Ms. Hockey award and O’Neil is the second Hopkins goalie to win the Outstanding Senior goaltender award.  Kallie Billadeau won the award in 2010 as a member of the Hopkins Royals.

Baldwin is the first blue-liner  to win the award since South St. Paul’s Ashley Albrecht in 2002.  A blend of an offensive and shut-down defenseman, Baldwin is the career leading scorer among defenders at Minnetonka.  She averaged over 30 minutes a game this season and was an anchor as the captain of her team. .  She has been named all-conference three times and is a three-time all-state winner.  She was a member of the US Women’s National Under-18 team that won a sliver medal at the World U18 tournament last year and will be a part of the team again this year when they play in March.

Baldwin will be a member of the University of Minnesota to continue her hockey playing and education.  She carries a 3.45 grade-point-average and is actively involved with volunteer work.

“I have been to this banquet for four years and it’s kind always been a dream to be up there (at the table) but today, it kind of came true and I’m just really grateful for the experience and opportunity,” Baldwin said.  “There’s so many amazing people that are associated with the name and I’m just very grateful.”

Baldwin stormed on to the scene at a young age as a high level player and consistently improved to the level of achieving the highest honor in girls high school hockey.  She was quick to deflect praise and pointed to her teammates and coaches as to how she continued to improve each season.

“It all goes to my teammates and my coaches,” Baldwin stated after the banquet. “I am so lucky to have such amazing coaches at Minnetonka.  They have been so instrumental in my success as a player and so much thanks goes to them and my teammates.”

O’Neil capped off a seasons where a lot of expectations and she met and exceed those.  She posted an 18-5-0 record and had a sharp .948 save percentage to go along with a 1.25 goals against average and seven shutouts.  O’Neil is committed to play her college hockey at Boston University and was a two-time all conference goaltender in the Lake Conference.  She was an honorable all-state selection last year and named to the all-state team this year.

O’Neil talked about the importance and legacy that surrounds the award she just won. “I was looking through the list after I got done and I’ve met only a few of them, but the few that I have met are all unbelievable people,” Oneil said after the banquet.  “They are all great goalies and just great people all around.  Kallie Billadeau is one of the winners from Hopkins and she was kind of my mentor when I was younger so it’s kind of cool to be able to put my name in the same kind of realm as she was.”

When asked about what is common about Hopkins goalies and this award, O’Neil was quick to point to the coaches and her support structure and said, “It all comes down to our coach,” Oneil said. “We have coach P (Vin Paolucci) and he is an unbelievable coach, he’s an unbelievable man.  He really puts us first and he has really made Hopkins what it is today.”

Both players had a memorable season and were able to add to the legacy of Ms. Hockey and the Outstanding Goalie awards that were issued at the River Center before a packed house of over 500 attendees.  Let’s Play Hockey delivered another solid performance as the event continues to grow each year.

Past Ms. Hockey Award Winners:

1996 – Winny Brodt, Roseville
1997 – Annamaire Holmes, Apple Valley
1998 – Laura Slominski, Burnsville
1999 –  Ronda Curtin, Roseville
2000 – Krissy Wendell, Park Center
2001 – Renee Curtin, Roseville
2002 – Ashley Albrecht, South St. Paul
2003 – Andrea Nichols, Hibbing/Chisholm
2004 – Erica McKenzie, Hastings
2005 – Gigi Marvin, Warroad
2006 – Allie Thunstrom North St. Paul
2007 – Katharine Chute, Blake
2008 – Sara Erickson, Bemidji
2009 – Becky Kortum, Hopkins
2010 – Bethany Brausen, Roseville
2011 – Karley Sylvester, Warroad
2012 – Hannah Brandt, Hill-Murray
2013 – Dani Cameranesi, Blake
2014 – Sydney Baldwin, Minnetonka

Past Senior Goalie of the Year Award Winners:

1999 — Katie Beauduy, Blaine
2000 — Shari Vogt, River Lakes
2001 — Jody Horak, Blaine
2002 — Amber Hasbargen, Warroad
2003 — Robin Doepke, Chaska
2004 — Emily Brookshaw, Hill-Murray
2005 — Johanna Ellison, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
2006 — Alannah McCready, Centennial
2007 — Ashley Nixon, Blaine
2008 — Alyssa Grogan, Eagan
2009 — Laura Bellamy, Duluth
2010 — Kallie Billadeau, Hopkins
2011 — Julie Friend, Minnetonka
2012 — Erika Allen, Roseville
2013 — Sydney Rossman, Minnetonka
2014 — Erin O’Neil, Hopkins

Pete Waggoner has covered hockey since 1989 and his work includes play-by-play and studio hosting. Currently, he hosts This Week in High School Sport on 1500 ESPN and hosts the Overtime Hockey Podcast at that posts every Monday. His past work has appeared on Sports Radio 105 The Ticket, KFAN Radio,, Fox Sports North Prep Zone, MNHockeyCenter, and to that, Waggoner developed along with Fox9 Twin Cities and was one of the original architects of the from concept to delivery.

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