Northeastern earned a sweep of the national goaltending awards last week when Devon Levi was named the top goalie in NCAA men’s Division 1 ice hockey.
He joined Aerin Frankel, who last month received the Women’s College Hockey Goalie of the Year award. Frankel remains the only recipient of her award, having won it both times it has been issued.
Levi, a sophomore, finished his debut season at Northeastern by also receiving the national Rookie of the Year by the Hockey Coaches Association. (He was sidelined last year by an injury suffered at the World Junior Championship.)
Levi accepted the Mike Richter Award for goaltending Friday night in Boston at a ceremony attended by many of his teammates. He said he would be returning to Northeastern for next season, even though his NHL rights are owned by the Buffalo Sabres, who traded for him last summer based in part on the three shutouts he posted while leading Canada to the World Junior final in 2021.
Levi helped Northeastern (25-13-1) earn its first-ever Hockey East regular-season title and reach the NCAA Tournament as he led the nation with a Northeastern-record .952 save percentage. He ranked third nationally with a 1.54 goals-against average and 10 shutouts—setting school records in both categories despite missing a month in midseason while representing Canada at the Beijing Olympics.
It is the second time in four seasons that Northeastern has won the Richter award, following Cayden Primeau’s recognition in 2018-19. Primeau now plays for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.
Levi credited his family for helping him reach the highest levels of junior and collegiate hockey. He recalled mulling over the Huskies’ offer from then-coach Jim Madigan, who has since been elevated to athletic director.
“At the dinner table, I remember asking my father, ‘Do you think I’m ready for college hockey?’” Levi recalled. “He said, ‘It’s impossible to know if you should go do it this year. What I do know, however, is that it’s not about trying to make the right decision. It’s about what you do after your decision to make it right.’
“I immediately called coach Madigan and told him I was coming. Without both of my parents’ continuous belief in me and their unwavering support through obstacles from a young age, this would not be happening.”
At 6 feet, Levi is relatively undersized for his position. He has learned to exceed expectations with rituals of preparation that have quickly become part of Huskies’ legend. On the eve of each game, he visualizes the plays he’ll make. In the final pregame hours, his teammates will hear tennis balls bouncing off the wall as he catches them from a variety of sharp angles.
The Huskies defense binds together around Levi in part because he is such a good teammate, says men’s coach Jerry Keefe.
“What makes him special is the talent, the work ethic, and the preparation,” Keefe said. “And the other thing is the guys really like playing in front of him. They’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and anytime he gets a lot of attention, he’s the first one to talk about what a defenseman did in front of him or someone making a play to help him out.”
Levi continued that trend by thanking his coaches and teammates for helping him win the award.
“I’d like to share this moment with my teammates, as you guys come to the rink every single day with a smile on your face and force me to be better,” he said. With a smile of his own he added: “To share this award with you guys [is] the least that I can do in return for everything you do [for] me, whether it’s blocking a shot or screaming at me to be on time for warmups five seconds before we’re supposed to hit the ice.”