David La Vaque has covered all but one state hockey tournament game since 2009 and has worked as a Star Tribune high school sports reporter since 2004. His favorite tournament experiences include cheering for alma mater St. Paul Johnson in 1991 and staying for most of the Apple Valley/Duluth East marathon semifinal game in 1996. Loren Nelson has covered every state tournament since 2009 as the national media editor for Sport Ngin. He attended many, many other Tourney games as a high schooler from the far northern reaches of Minnesota making the annual pilgrimage south to the old St. Paul Civic Center in the 1980s.
From the Let's Play Hockey press release:
Jacob Olson, a senior defenseman on the Hill-Murray High School boys’ hockey team has been named the winner of the 2015 Reed Larson Award. The award, presented to the top senior boys’ high school hockey defenseman in Minnesota, is based on the following criteria: academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship, coachability and, of course, on-ice performance.
A stalwart on the blue line for the Pioneers, Olson has averaged a point per game this season with eight goals and 20 assists in 28 games to rank third on the team and first among defensemen in scoring. Thanks largely to his defensive efforts (he owns a +41 rating), Hill-Murray is in the state tournament for the second time in Olson’s career.
“Jacob is a big, strong, hard-working defenseman,” Hill-Murray head coach Bill Lechner said. “He is the complete package of a true defenseman. He takes pride in taking away space without the puck, but is not afraid to get involved in the offensive flow and puck distribution. Jacob is a very physical defenseman, but knows how far the rules allow.”
Off the ice, Olson owns a 3.868 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He earned the Hill-Murray Gold Service award for 40-plus service experiences, volunteering for several community organizations. Olson is a three-year member of Hill-Murray Ambassadors and has been a peer tutor for the last two years.
Olson will continue his hockey and academic career at Harvard where he plans to focus on economics/business. He is the fourth-highest rated high school prospect in the NHL Central Scouting ranking for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
“Jacob has strong life and family values,” Lechner said. “He’s a role model to his peers and teammates, and an outstanding student and citizen. Every day, he shows up with a smile and a 110-percent work ethic to match.”
The 2015 Reed Larson Award will be presented tonight at the Class AA State Tournament Banquet at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.
The other candidates for the award were Jack Ahcan (Burnsville), Will Borgen (Moorhead), Seamus Donohue (St. Thomas Academy), Noah Fabie (Minnehaha Academy), Jordan Fralich (Duluth Marshall), Colin Gallagher (Henry Sibley), Conor Jensen (Bloomington Kennedy), Sam Kastner (East Ridge), Jack McNeely (Lakeville North), Ryan Meany (Centennial), Jack Mellstrom (Windom Area), Keith Muehlbauer (Eastview), Ben Newhouse (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Jack Sadek (Lakeville North), Cooper Sande (Holy Angels), Toby Sengvongxay (Luverne) and Tyler Vold (Andover).
Past winners: 2014 Luc Snuggerud (Eden Prairie), 2013 Jake Bischoff (Grand Rapids)