Notre Dame's Pivonka a finalist for Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award

Tribune Staff Report

SOUTH BEND – Jake Pivonka, a senior captain and forward on No. 8 Notre Dame’s hockey team, is one of six finalists for the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award which will be awarded on Friday, April 8 during the NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

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The award, which salutes a player who is a “consummate team player and team builder,” honors former West Point Army hockey player and captain Derek Hines, who played for the Black Knights from 1999-2003 and was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2005 in Afghanistan.

Despite suffering a torn Achilles tendon during summer workouts and requiring surgery, Pivonka was named a captain by his teammates and worked his way back into playing shape for the final pre-Christmas series for the Fighting Irish.

A fourth-pound pick (103rd overall) of the New York Islanders in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Pivonka scored his first goal of the season that proved to be the game-winner in Notre Dame’s 4-2 Sunday victory over Wisconsin in the third game of the best-of-three quarterfinal Big Ten Tournament series. He is considered to be Notre Dame’s best faceoff man. A member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, the Naperville, Illinois, native will graduate in May with a degree in finance.