Musico wins Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award

April 16, 2015

BOSTON -- The Hockey Commissioners Association named Penn State men's hockey senior goaltender PJ Musico (Orange, Calif.) the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award winner on April 10.

"I couldn't be more honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award," said Musico. "I have always taken an amazing amount of pride in the qualities that he represented. Leadership, character and selflessness are only a few of the characteristics that Derek stood for. These qualities are what I aim to exhibit on a daily basis, not only in athletics, but my career and life in general.

"I couldn't be more grateful to receive this award in Derek's name. I plan on continuing to follow his example in all that he represented. I have a massive amount of respect for Derek and his family: A sincere thank you goes to Derek and the Hines Family for everything they have done. Lastly, thank you to Penn State University, my teammates, coaches, and parents for the incredible guidance and inspiration throughout my career in college hockey."

The award "recognizes a fearless leader and beloved fan favorite who always places his team first. Displaying exemplary sportsmanship, he's supremely competitive, intelligent and extraordinarily conditioned with an unmatched work ethic. The contributions of this individual, on and off the ice, cannot be measured by statistics alone."

Musico is the first goaltender to win the award since its inception in 2007. Hines, a forward at Army, graduated from the academy in 2003 and was killed in action on Sept. 1, 2005, in Afghanistan. Musico is also the first award recipient from any of the Big Ten schools.

"Penn State hockey is so proud of PJ," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "What a great accolade for a great guy. I love seeing perseverance and a great attitude get rewarded."

Musico, known for his characteristically upbeat attitude, became a fan favorite this season as he was called upon in some of the most difficult situations. As the season started, Musico was the third-string goaltender, making his first appearance of the season in the team's 17th game.

Eventually, Musico garnered more playing time, coming in in four straight three-goal deficits. After losing the first two, Musico helped the Nittany Lions to a win and a tie to earn his first start of the season on Jan. 31 at Vermont. Musico and company went on to beat the 14th-ranked Catamounts behind 33 saves. He would later anchor a series split of Wisconsin to earn Big Ten Third Star of the Week.

Musico went 4-0-1 during a five-game stretch in late January and early February to keep the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten title chase. The senior netminder gathered wins over No. 15 Minnesota and a Senior Day victory over Michigan.

Musico set career highs in saves (310), save percentage (.909) and GAA (3.05) as well as minutes (610:15), games (13), starts (9) and wins (6). Musico was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.

Off the ice, Musico kept the mood in the locker room light. He played vital roles in the team's winning dance performance at THON where the Nittany Lion men's hockey team won the Pep Rally. Musico is also active in supporting autism awareness, inspired by his brother, Patrick.

Musico was selected by a panel consisting of members from each NCAA Division I men's ice hockey conference. Musico was the Big Ten's representative and was voted by the other five conferences as the award winner. He is the ninth honoree all-time.

ALL-TIME DEREK HINES UNSUNG HERO AWARD WINNERS
2007 - Dan Shribman (F, Dartmouth)
2008 - Chase Podsiad (D, Army)
2009 - Mike Phillipich (F, Air Force)
2010 - Jordan Pietrus (F, Brown)
2011 - Kyle Schmidt (F, Minnesota Duluth)
2012 - Bobby Farnham (F, Brown)
2013 - Kyle Murphy (F, Providence)
2014 - Brice O'Connor (D, Maine)
2015 - PJ Musico (G, Penn State)

Last Updated April 16, 2015