Jeff Landers Named National Player of the Year; Anderson, Landers Named to All-America First Team

Jeff Landers is the first National Player of the Year in program history.
From an AHCA Release

AMHERST, MA – Having already been named the best player in the NESCAC and the best American-born player in New England, Amherst College senior Jeff Landers (Hanover, MA) went one step further this past Thursday when he was named the best player in all of Division III.

In addition to being named to the RBK Hockey All-America East First Team along with sophomore teammate Cole Anderson (Eckville, Alberta), Landers was honored with the Sid Watson Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best Division III men’s hockey player.

Landers is the first Amherst College player and the sixth NESCAC player to earn the award, which has been given annually since 1993. The runner-up for the 2009 Sid Watson Award was Chad Beiswenger, a senior goaltender at Wisconsin-Superior.

“As our captain, Jeff has exhibited outstanding leadership both on and off the ice,” said Amherst head coach Jack Arena ’83. “He is one of the finest examples of a student-athlete that I have had the pleasure of coaching.”

Just this past Wednesday Landers was named this year’s recipient of the Joe Concannon Award, which honors the best American-born men’s hockey player in New England at the Division II-III level. Earlier this month, Landers was named the NESCAC Player of the Year while earning a spot on the All-Conference First Team. During a dominant stretch this season Landers earned back-to-back NESCAC Player of the Week honors.

While all of Landers’ awards this season are exceptional, none stand out more so than the Sid Watson Award. Only five NESCAC student-athletes had been named the nation’s men’s hockey player of the year prior to Landers, four of whom played at eight-time national champion Middlebury College. Landers is only the second NESCAC player to earn the award since 1999.

Sophomore Cole Anderson was named to the All-NESCAC and All-America First Teams this season.
A two-time NESCAC All-Academic Team selection, Landers has led Amherst in a number of community service projects. Over the past several months the team has participated in “Relay for Life” and “Habitat for Humanity,” and has spent time reading to local first graders. Landers has also been the co-president of “3-D” (Difference for the Developmentally Disabled), which meets weekly and provides a wide array of activities for a group of developmentally disabled adults.

On the same day Landers was named the nation’s top Division III player, he and Anderson were two of only 20 players named to a Division III RBK Hockey All-America Team, which is chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). No other NESCAC player earned All-America First Team status, while Jamie McKenna of Middlebury was named to the East’s Second Team.

Landers and Anderson are the first Amherst players to earn All-America honors since Beau Kretzman ’05 was named to the AHCA All-America Second Team in 2005. They are the first Amherst players to earn All-America First Team status since Jim Smith ’01 was honored by the AHCA in 2001.

Anderson—a 2009 All-NESCAC First Team selection—boasts the nation’s second highest save percentage (.954) and the second lowest goals-against average (1.51), while Landers leads all of Division III in defenseman scoring (9-33-42). The duo played a vital role in leading the Lord Jeffs to their best season in program history, which included a first ever NESCAC title and first NCAA Tournament victory.

The Sid Watson Award is named in honor of former Bowdoin College head coach Sid Watson, a three-time Division III Coach of the Year honoree. Watson won 326 games at Bowdoin in a career that spanned from 1959 to 1983, and was also the school’s athletic director.

Winners of the Sid Watson Award
1993 – Frank Cirrone (UW-Stevens Point)
1994 – Ray Alcindor (Middlebury)
1995 – Charlie Gaffney (Bowdoin)
1996 – Ian Smith (Middlebury)
1997 – Steve Toll (RIT)
1998 – Mark Spence (Middlebury)
1999 – Rob Smillie (Saint Norbert)
2000 – Steve Aronson (Saint Thomas)
2001 – Keith Aucoin (Norwich)
2002 – Jerry Gallway (RIT)
2003 – Maris Ziedins (Saint Norbert)
2004 – Kevin Cooper (Middlebury)
2005 – Kurtin McLean (Norwich)
2006 – Adam Hanna (Saint John’s)
2007 – Andrew Gallant (Manhattanville)
2008 – Kyle Jones (Saint Norbert)
RBK Hockey All-America East Team
First Team
G – Cole Anderson (Amherst)
D – Jeff Landers (Amherst)
D – Nick Rolls (Plattsburgh)
F – Dylan Clarke (Plattsburgh)
F – Nikita Kashirsky (Norwich)
F – Chris Trafford (Manhattanville)

Second Team
G – Keith Longo (Hobart)
D – Andy Brennan (Hobart)
D – Karl Linden (Elmira)
F – Jeff Hazelwood (Curry)
F – Jamie McKenna (Middlebury)
F – Joey Wilson (Plattsburgh)