April 11, 2013
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Army defenseman Cheyne Rocha was named the hockey Senior CLASS Award winner, it was announced Thursday. A three-time Atlantic Hockey Association academic all-star, Rocha was recognized for his work on and off the ice.
Rocha, a native of Rye, N.H., was chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s hockey coaches, national ice hockey media and fans.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Rocha is the first hockey player to win the award and just the second Army athlete joining 2010 lacrosse winner Andrew Maisano.
“I am humbled and honored to accept the Senior CLASS Award,” said Rocha who will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Engineer Branch of the U.S. Army following graduation. “I have been blessed with great teammates, coaches, and instructors during my time at West Point and this award is a result of their mentorship and support. I want to thank my family for their unwavering support and guidance. This was a great group of finalists and I would like to thank all of the fans, media, and head coaches who voted for me during this process. I also want to thank the hard working people behind the Senior CLASS Award for their support of college athletics, especially those who succeed on and off the ice.”
An engineering management major, Rocha is a three-time Atlantic Hockey Association Academic All-Star. He posted the highest GPA among league defensemen as a junior and was named Student-Athlete of the Year. Rocha spearheaded House of Blues, an awareness campaign for prostate cancer, now the preferred charity of Atlantic Hockey. He is active with the Special Olympics and Neighborhood Knights, a team group that provides community service.
“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Cheyne,” said Army hockey coach Brian Riley. “His hard work on and off the ice has been an inspiration to many and it’s great to see him recognized nationally for his efforts. We would like to thank all of the fans, coaches and media members who voted for Cheyne and congratulate all of the other finalists. There are some great hockey players doing great things and we are grateful to the Senior CLASS folks for recognizing and rewarding these young men.”
A four-year contributor to the team, Rocha played in all but two games this season – the two games he missed were to attend his Rhodes Scholarship interview. The defenseman finished the season with one goal and three assists.
“Cheyne has maintained the discipline and focus necessary to complete his studies at one of our country’s military academies,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award, “but he has also contributed to a hockey team and guided several community service initiatives as well, making him a terrific representative of this year’s outstanding group of hockey finalists.”
Brett Beebe, Western Michigan
Stephen Carew, Air Force
Brandon Nunn, Holy Cross
Cheyne Rocha, Army
Steven Spinell, Miami (Ohio)
Danny Biega, Harvard
Kyle Bonis, Ferris State
Alex Gerke, Connecticut
Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State
Brendan Jamison, Robert Morris