AUSTIN, Texas--For just the second time in Adrian College men's hockey history, graduated senior defenseman Braden Hellems (St. Thomas, Ontario/Trenton Golden Hawks, OJHL) has been named to the 2018-19 Google Cloud Academic All-America® NCAA Division III Men's At-Large Team, selected by College Sports Information Directors of America. Hellems is the lone Northern Collegiate Hockey Association representative and one of only seven hockey players on the 45-person list.
The Google Cloud Academic All-America® program separately recognizes outstanding student-athletes in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA — for their combined performances in the athletic realm and in the classroom. Hellems advanced to the national ballot after earning Google Cloud first-team Academic All-District® VI honors in April, emerging from a top list of student-athletes who hail from institutions based in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Hellems joins defenseman Michael Hoy, who was a 2017 Men's At-Large Third Team Academic All-American®, as the only hockey Bulldogs to receive the honor.
"I am shocked to receive this award; it was cool to be nominated but to actually receive the award is amazing," stated Hellems. "It's a pretty cool feeling to be only the second player in program history to receive this honor.
"There are many people that supported me throughout my four years at Adrian. First, Coach (Adam) Krug bringing me into one of the best Division III hockey programs in the country. What many people didn't realize was that my first two years athletically at Adrian didn't go according to planned for me, as I saw myself in and out of the lineup. But it's funny how things work out because this essentially allowed me to develop my study habits to excel in the classroom. By my junior year when I began to play consistently, I had already established study habits which allowed me to have my work done prior to hockey so I could go out and perform at my best.
"I also need to thank my family, who even throughout my first two years of rarely playing, still believed in me and pushed me to be my best every single day, without their support I wouldn't be receiving this award."
Hellems made his debut on the 2018-19 American Hockey Coaches' Association/CCM Division III All-America team on the second unit in March after a career year that also included All-NCHA accolades. He also is a three-time Academic All-NCHA and 2018 AHCA Krampade All-America Scholar.
"This is another example of the type of student-athlete we try bringing to Adrian as part of our hockey program. Not only was Braden able to be a huge part of things on the ice, he was able to show the same type of commitment to his studies, allowing him to earn this award," Krug said. "Congratulations to Braden on such an awesome accomplishment, both on the ice and in the classroom."
Hellems, who was four-time All-America Cory Dunn's partner on the blueline, posted a career year that included 11 goals (5 in 2018), 16 assists (16 in 2018) and 27 total points (21 in 2018) to go with his first All-NCHA citation. Hellems emerged as an offensive weapon on the team's primary power play unit with a career-best eight goals with the man-advantage--a figure that is tied for seventh in the nation and leads the NCHA going into the weekend. Hellems twice was named to the D3hockey.com National Team of the Week on Nov. 20 and Dec. 12 this season. Hellems, who also scored three game-winning goals, was second only to senior teammate Trevor Boyd (114) in shots on goal with 105, which is another personal record. Hellems also was second in plus/minus to Dunn (17) with a +14.
Hellems finished his 76-game career with 18+37=55 scoring totals, a plus-46 and 241 shots. Professionally, he played in eight games for the ECHL's Indy Fuel (Chicago Blackhawks Double-A affiliate) this spring after his collegiate career ended.
He also credits the AC faculty for his achievement from CoSIDA.
"The faculty at Adrian were always very understanding of the commitment athletes had to their sports, which honestly reduces our stress levels in terms of missing class and completing assignments. My advisor Dr. (Cedrick) Heraux was phenomenal throughout my time at Adrian, helping me stay on track academically over the course of my four years. Particularly with my last semester this past spring, when I left to fulfill my childhood dream of playing professional hockey. Dr. Heraux, and the rest of the Criminal Justice Department, were very supportive and willing to help me in any way they could making my absence from class very easy. At any point I could walk into their offices, and sit down to talk about class assignments or seek advice on a particular topic. Choosing to attend Adrian was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I came into Adrian thinking I was there only for hockey, but I found a passion for my academics and am now driven to pursue higher education."
After his professional hockey-playing days are over, Hellems plans to return to Adrian College to finish his master's degree in criminal justice, which he started last fall.
"Once I finish my education, I plan on returning to Canada in hopes of becoming a police officer."
Hellems joins CoSIDA/Google Cloud soccer Academic All-Americans® Tad Davis and Caroline Fleming in the fall to give Adrian three honorees for the 2018-19 school year--tying a school record set in 1994-95.
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