Three Broncos Win CCHA Awards
Beebe was named the Co-Illitch Humanitarian Award winner along with Alaska's Kaare Odegard. DeKeyser becomes the first Bronco in program history to win the CCHA's Best Defensive Defenesman award for the second time in his career. Walters is only the second member of the Brown & Gold to ever be named the CCHA's Best Defensive Forward, joining assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler in the WMU record books.
Beebe is the first Bronco ever to win the Illitch Humanitarian Award. He was honored for his commitment to community service around the Kalamazoo area and for his work with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The senior forward start his "Long Hair, Don't Care" foundation in honor of his mother, Karen, while she was battling cancer. Beebe helped raise over $25,000 for the NBCF for research but ultimately lost his mother during the summer of 2012. The Redondo Beach, Calif., native also was involved locally. He helped create the Bronco Buddies Mentoring Program, which matches student-athletes with children from local elementary schools in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood. Beebe and some teammates also spent over 50 hours helping to renovate a home in the same neighborhood.
DeKeyser repeats as CCHA's Best Defensive Defenseman after helping the Broncos to the third-best defense in the nation. While the offense struggled at times, the defense surrendered a program record for fewest goals in a season at 78. The Clay Township, Mich., native routinely played upwards towards 30 minutes a night while teamed with Luke Witkowski. DeKeyser was named First Team All-CCHA as voted by the league's coaches as well. He also contributed 15 points on the season from the blue line and played on both the power play and the penalty kill. DeKeyser also is second on the team in blocked shots with 56
Walters is the first WMU forward to win since Ferschweiler won in 1993. The St. Paul, Minn., native played in all situations on the season, including as one of the top forwards on the penalty kill unit. Walters effort helped the Broncos finish in third in the CCHA, along with leading the teams in goals with 12. He currently sits +5 on the season and is third among forwards in blocked shots with 24.
Western Michigan must wait out the conference tournaments to see if they earn an at-large bit to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is Sunday night at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.