(Photo: Northeastern University Athletics)

On Wednesday, January 21, it was announced that Northeastern University’s ice hockey goaltender Clay Witt was named as one of the 20 candidates for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate hockey.

The Senior CLASS Award is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. It focuses on the student-athlete as a complete person and encourages students to use their platform in athletics as a way to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

To be eligible for the award the student-athlete must be an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence—community, classroom, character and competition. The 20 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballots. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans who will select one candidate. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2015 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in April.

Clay Witt

Clay Witt

Clay Witt joins an impressive list of players from Union College, Miami University, The Ohio State University, Colgate, Michigan Technological University, Providence College, Ferris State University and others. The full list can be found here.

Witt, a red-shirted senior, received his undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship and new venture management in May 2014 with a grade-point average of 2.733. He is currently enrolled in the graduate certificate program in project management and will complete his requirements in the spring of 2015.

After his record-breaking junior season, Witt could have signed a professional contract and forgone his final season of eligibility at Northeastern. However, he wanted to complete his undergraduate degree and begin his graduate courses. He also believed in the talent of the team he knew was returning to Northeastern.

The goaltender wears an A on his jersey, having been named one of the assistant captains for the 2014-15 season. And he leads by example, his mental and physical preparation for a game considered second to none in the Huskies’ locker room.

With others on his team, he is a member of the Huskies Leadership Team with Team IMPACT, an organization that pairs children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses with college athletic teams to improve their quality of life through the power of team. Witt and the Huskies are teammates with two brothers who have been welcomed into the Northeastern family since January 2014. In addition, Witt takes time to read to children in elementary schools in the Boston area during the hockey season.

The highly competitive goaltender rewrote the Northeastern record book as a junior in his first season as the starting goaltender in 2013-14 setting single-season program records for goals against average (2.37) and save percentage (.932). Witt was named a finalist for the Mike Richter Award and a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award. The goaltender was named a Hockey East Second Team All-Star as a junior, was a five-time Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honoree and earned the “Stop It” Goaltender of the Month Award in January 2014.

As he entered the 2014-15 season, Witt was 20-17-3 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .928 save percentage in addition to four shutouts. In the 48 career games (38 starts), he had a total of 1,360 saves. During the summer Witt was invited to the Tampa Bay Lightning Prospect Development camp which was held in his hometown of Brandon, Florida.

Witt and the Huskies welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for two games this coming weekend on Friday and Saturday nights at Matthews Arena, the home of the Northeastern University Huskies men’s ice hockey team.

A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.

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