A junior at the University of North Dakota, Jordan Kawaguchi has been named a finalist for the Hobby Baker Award, an annual award given to the best player in NCAA men’s hockey. The 22-year-old centre has led his team in scoring for the past two seasons, and this year had 15 goals and 30 assists in 33 games. Quarterbacking the team’s powerplay, he also led North Dakota to the NCHC regular-season title.
Prior to starting university, he starred for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL where he scored 120 goals and 242 points in 213 career games. In his last two years for the Chiefs, Kawaguchi was the team’s captain and scored over 80 points in just 50 games each season. He finished second in the BCHL in points in his last season with the Chiefs (2016-17) and led the league in points during the playoffs, when his 43 poins in 23 games were almost twice as many as the next-closest finisher.
Kawaguchi has decided to return to North Dakota for his senior year, despite receiving interest from multiple NHL teams.
Part of the reason was the way the season ended so abruptly. I definitely feel that we didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to. It was out of our hands. With the group we have, and the resources we have, it’s unbelievable. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I want to be here and I want to win a national championship.Jordan Kawaguchi to the Grand Forks Herald
Kawaguchi was named the NCHC Forward of the Year, and is a finalist for the NCHC Player of the Year as well. A Japanese-Canadian from Abbotsford, BC, Kawaguchi is the cousin of former NHL player Devin Setoguchi.