COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Having already completed his bachelor’s degree and working towards his master’s, University of Denver senior defenseman Erich Fear has been selected as the recipient of the NCHC’s fifth annual Postgraduate Scholarship, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced Thursday.
Fear (Winnetka, Ill.) completed his bachelor of science degree in business administration (finance) in March of 2019 with a 3.97 grade-point average. He then began his master’s degree in accountancy in the spring of 2019, in which he currently holds a 3.90 GPA.
Fear is a four-time NCHC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete and four-time member of the NCHC Academic All-Conference Team. He is also a two-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-American Scholar (with 2019-20 yet to be announced). Fear won the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award last season at the Frozen Four for having the top GPA among the four participating teams, and was tabbed Academic All-District last season, as well. He has also twice earned Denver’s Dr. Art Mason Top Scholar-Athlete Award.
“We are very proud of the work NCHC student-athletes continue to do both in the classroom and on the ice. As the NCAA’s Elite 90 winner in 2019, Erich continues to impress with his high-level commitment to academics while training and competing every week in the rigors of the NCHC,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said. “We are proud and honored to select Erich as this year’s NCHC Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.”
Fear is expected to complete his master’s degree in the fall of 2020. Using his finance and eventual accountancy degrees, Fear has an interest in building and managing businesses that commercialize new technologies, promote sustainability and improve our infrastructure. During the summer of 2018, he gained experience as an investment banking analyst for Capstone Headwaters. For the last year, Fear has been working as a financial analyst for Renova Capital Partners, strategizing directly with the company’s Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, as well as assisting with financial modeling.
On the ice, Fear played in 84 career games for the Pioneers, including 20 this season. He recorded two goals and five assists from the blue line, including two this season, for seven points in his career.
“Thank you to the NCHC for awarding me this scholarship. Our conference is the best in college hockey, and I am grateful to have the conference’s support as I pursue a graduate degree,” Fear said.
“Thank you to my teammates, coaches and staff at DU for a great four years. Without their support, my accomplishments and future opportunities would not be possible. It is disappointing that our senior class didn’t get one more chance to compete for a championship, but I am proud of all that we have accomplished at Denver over the past four years,” Fear continued. “Also, I’d like to extend a special thank you to Keith Miller, Nancy Sampson, Cindi Nagai, David Kummer, Greg Grauberger, and all our professors for supporting our team academically.”
Fear is the second Pioneer to receive the NCHC’s Postgraduate Scholarship, joining former DU forward Gabe Levin, who won the inaugural scholarship in 2016.
The NCHC’s Postgraduate Scholarship is funded by a grant from the El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs, which has also supported the NCHC by providing its office headquarters on the grounds of the Penrose House and helping cover the cost of the Penrose Cup. Fear’s scholarship award amount will be $7,500.
“The NCHC membership and Board of Directors are thankful for the support of Mr. Kyle Hybl and the El Pomar Foundation Board of Directors.” Fenton said. “Celebrating our student’s success is a cornerstone of our conference and we are proud to share in this honor with El Pomar.”
To be eligible for the NCHC’s Postgraduate Scholarship, the student-athlete must be a senior on the official NCAA hockey roster with at least a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average, who plans to continue his academic studies beyond his undergraduate degree. The recipient must enroll in a postgraduate degree program within three years of receiving the scholarship to collect the financial aid. The winner is chosen by a vote of the NCHC’s Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs) from among the nominees submitted by each school’s FAR.
The NCHC’s other award winners, including all year-end playing awards, will be announced next week. On Monday, the NCHC’s Sportsmanship Award, Three Stars Award and Media Excellence Award will be announced. Tuesday will feature both Offensive and Defensive Defenseman of the Year and Goaltender of the Year, while Wednesday will award Forward, Defensive Forward and Rookie of the Year. Finally, on Thursday, NCHC Player of the Year, Herb Brooks Coach of the Year and Senior Scholar-Athlete will be revealed.
PREVIOUS NCHC POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
2016 – Gabe Levin, Denver
2017 – Aaron Hadley, WMU and Kirk Thompson, Omaha
2018 – Joel Messner, Omaha
2019 – Ryan Galt, Omaha
2020 – Erich Fear, Denver