Former Dollard peewee teammates nominated for Hobey Baker Award

Devon Levi and Yaniv Perets are among 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker award, won last year by Montreal Canadiens sniper Cole Caufield.

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The accolades keep piling up for goaltenders Devon Levi and Yaniv Perets, former minor hockey teammates from Montreal who are now nominated for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, the top player honor in US college hockey.

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A decade ago, the duo were peewee teammates in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. Last week they were among 10 finalists named for the Hobey Baker, an award won last year by Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield.

Levi is the star goalie for the Northeastern University Huskies in Boston, while Perets stop pucks for the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden, Connecticut.

Former Lac St. Louis Lions coach Jon Goyens coached both players at the midget AAA level and is not surprised by their success this season.

“They’re both amazing goalies; they were also good students when I coached them,” Goyens said.

Levi’s mother Eta Yacowar said Devon and Yaniv have remained close friends since their minor hockey days in the West Island.

“(They’ve been) super close friends since peewee and still get together very often in Montreal and also in Boston,” Yacowar said. “They train on and off the ice together during the summer.”

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Devon Levi (left) and Yaniv Perets at a Montreal Canadiens game as youngsters.  Both are nominated for the Hobey Baker Award in 2022.
Devon Levi (left) and Yaniv Perets at a Montreal Canadiens game as youngsters. Both are nominated for the Hobey Baker Award in 2022. Courtesy of Eta Yacowar

The Levi and Perets families grew close over the years as the two boys rose up the hockey ranks to reach the pinnacle of NCAA Division 1 hockey.

Yacowar said it has been exciting to see both goalies nominated for the Hobey Baker award.

Devon Levi became known to hockey fans across Canada over a year ago when he backstopped Team Canada to a silver medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships while playing with a rib fracture.

The 2001-born Levi added another chapter to his impressive young career this season when he was named to the Canadian Olympic team roster for last months Winter Olympics in Beijing. He did not appear in a game for Team Canada, which was eliminated by Sweden in the tournament quarterfinal.

Levi, son of Eta and Laurent, was drafted 212th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2020, but he was later traded to the Buffalo Sabers.

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Levi posted a 12-6-1 record for the Huskies in Hockey East play while recording five shutouts, a .951 save percentage, and a goals against average of 1.64.

“Devon keeps getting better at every level,” Goyens said. “And Yaniv is also improving to a point where he is now considered one of the top goalies in US college hockey.”

The 2000-born Perets, a sophomore at Quinnipiac, was undrafted but Goyens says he wouldn’t be surprised if he is eventually signed to a pro contract.

“Yaniv is coming off an amazing season,” he said.

Perets, the son of Joshua and Nancy Perets, was recently named ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year after establishing league records for goals against average, save percentage (.952) and shutouts (11). His 0.89 goals against average and shutout totals are tops in US college hockey.

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The other eight Hobey Baker finalists are: Matty Beniers, University of Michigan; Bobby Brink, University of Denver; Brian Halonen, Michigan Tech University; Luke Hughes, University of Michigan; Dryden McKay, Minnesota State University; Ben Meyers, University of Minnesota; Nathan Smith, Minnesota State University; and Bobby Trivigno, University of Massachusetts.

The finalists were selected by voting from nearly 60 Division I college head coaches, as well as online fan balloting. The winner will be announced April 8.

Goyens, who still keeps in touch with many of his former players, noted that several former Lions have recently won NCAA hockey awards.

Justin Hryckowian, a teammate of Levi at Northeastern, was named to the All-Rookie team for Hockey East.

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Hryckowian, from Île-Bizard, tallied 20 points on six goals and 14 assists.

Joining him on the All-Rookie team were Levi and Jack Hughes, son of Habs GM Kent Hughes.

Elsewhere, Beaconsfield’s Chris Theodore, top scorer at American International College, was named Player of the Year in the Atlantic Hockey Association. He was also named to the AHA First All-Star team.

Another local goaltender, Tommy Scarfone of Île-Bizard, was named to the AHA’s All-Rookie Team after a stellar season at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

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