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HOCKEY: Babin takes home conference honor

Chris Khorey | Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The positive news keeps coming for the Notre Dame hockey program.

After a two-game sweep of Bowling Green last weekend, Irish defenseman Noah Babin was named Central Collegiate Hockey Association defenseman of the week.

Babin had three assists in the two games against the Falcons, a feat he attributes to solid play by Notre Dame’s forwards.

“I was just kind of looking for an open person,” Babin said. “I just got lucky that our forwards were on fire.”

The award was the second of its kind for the Irish this season. Freshman goaltender Jordan Pearce won rookie of the week Nov. 1 after shutting out Princeton.

Last season the only Irish player to win a weekly conference was award was goalie Morgan Cey, and he did that in the first month of the season.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more individual awards [this year],” Babin said. “We’re playing a better brand of hockey than before. That’s going to show in a bunch of different things. We’re going to score more goals, we’re going to play better defense.”

Babin said new coach Jeff Jackson has instilled a confidence in this team that it lacked last year in going 5-27-6.

“We have a lot more structure, which I think we needed, and a lot more direction, which I think we needed,” Babin said.

The Irish are 3-5-0 under Jackson, but four of their losses are to top-10 squads – Michigan, Colorado College and Denver.

The sweep of Bowling Green, the first time in two seasons that Notre Dame has swept a two-game series, evened the Irish’s CCHA record at 2-2-0.

Babin, who hails from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is one of only two players in Division 1 hockey from the sunshine state.

“[Hockey] was a bad accident by my dad,” Babin said. “He bought me a little roller hockey set for my birthday and it kind of spawned from there.”

Babin started playing for the Florida Select travel team. At a tournament in Michigan when he was 14, scouts from the Compuware Ambassadors, a Junior A-level team in the North American Hockey League, asked him to play for their team. That necessitated a major life change.

“I moved to Michigan when I was 14 with my mom,” Babin said. “Me and her lived there for two years.”

Later on, Babin tried out for the United States National Development program, which is located in Ann Arbor, Mich. This was another major change for the then 17-year-old Babin.

“I moved out on my own and lived with another family while I played for the U.S. program, then another junior team, then I came [to Notre Dame],” he said.

Babin said that, like most young hockey players, he wouldn’t trade his unorthodox high school years for anything.

“It’s a whole different way to go through life,” Babin said. “When I was with the U.S. program we were all living with different families. Mine was great, I could have lived with them forever. We got to go to school every single day with the entire team.

“Plus we got to see the world. We got to go to Germany, Russia, and Switzerland.”

Babin and the Irish will travel to Miami of Ohio for games Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m. each night.