Jeff Landers Earns Prestigious Joe Concannon Award

From a Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Release

BOSTON, MA – Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Steve Grogan announced today that senior defenseman Jeff Landers (Hanover, MA) of Amherst College is the winner of the ninth annual Joe Concannon Award, which recognizes New England’s best American-born hockey player at the Division II-III level.

The 2009 Joe Concannon Award will be presented at the New England Hockey Writers’ Dinner on Monday, Apr. 13. Last year’s winner was Tom Maldonado from Middlebury College and The Bronx, New York.

Landers finished his career at Amherst with an outstanding season, leading the Lord Jeffs in scoring with nine goals and 33 assists for 42 points. During his senior season the durable defenseman led Amherst to its first NESCAC championship and first trip to the NCAA tournament in a decade. He was team captain, a First Team All-NESCAC selection and the NESCAC Player of the Year.

Landers

Amherst (22-5-1, 16-2-1) set a program record for wins in a season—besting the previous record of 19—and played host in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. The Jeffs’ win in the opening round marked their first NCAA Tournament victory, while their win over Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship finals earned them their first conference title. Landers and the Class of 2009 finished with 62 wins in four years, which is tied for the most among any graduating class in the program’s history.

After getting off to a 4-3-1 start the Jeffs won 18 of their next 19 games, a span that included a 14-game winning streak. Amherst scored at least three goals in each of its wins, scoring at least four goals on 15 occasions. During their impressive run the Jeffs boasted the nation’s best defense and one of the nation’s best defensemen in Landers, as the senior captain led all of Division III in defenseman points per game (1.50).

Amherst head coach Jack Arena noted, “Jeff has certainly had an outstanding season and was a major factor in our team’s success. He has been unique here at Amherst as it is unusual to have a single captain named for the team, but Jeff more than ably filled that role on and off the ice. He had great vision and made plays that many other players don’t see on the ice. He made his teammates better players when he was on the ice in the way that he orchestrated play and distributed the puck.”

Arena further noted, “Among a class of strong seniors, Jeff has provided incredible direction and leadership to the team in a way that brought everyone closer. Our results this season are clearly representative of our overall team game and his terrific numbers and contributions on the ice each and every game this season.”

A very strong field of finalist candidates vied with Landers for this year’s Concannon Award. They included senior captains and forwards Jamie McKenna from Middlebury College, Brad Baldelli from Babson College and Jeff Hazelwood  from Curry College; along with junior goaltender Jon Dryjowicz-Burek from UMass-Dartmouth.

“This year has surpassed past seasons of competitive hockey at the Division II and III levels in New England,” noted committee chairman Tim Costello. “Every one of our nominees had an outstanding season. Our five finalists from the very talented field of nominees truly distinguished themselves among their peers. They were leaders in the locker room, on campus and on the ice. Jeff Landers displayed terrific hockey skills as well as leadership and sportsmanship. He most definitely has earned his place among the group of distinguished winners of the Concannon Award.”