Rensselaer hockey standout Joé Juneau ’91 has been selected as one of six recipients of the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for his collegiate and professional achievements. The Silver Anniversary Award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Juneau is the first Rensselaer alumnus to receive this award.
Joining Juneau as 2015 recipients are Abby Cheng, Arkansas State University; Chris Howard, U.S. Air Force Academy; Russell Maryland, University of Miami (Florida); Dikembe Mutombo, Georgetown University; and Steve Smith, Michigan State University.
The NCAA will recognize the honorees at the Honors Celebration during the 2016 NCAA Convention on Jan. 15 in San Antonio.
Juneau, a native of Pont-Rouge, Que., enjoyed a tremendous collegiate career before having an outstanding tenure in the National Hockey League.
“I offer my deepest congratulations to Joé Juneau as a recipient of the NCAA 2015 Silver Anniversary Award,” said Lee McElroy, director of athletics. “This honor recognizes not only Joe Juneau’s outstanding athletics and academic feats but also his character and leadership qualities. We look forward to celebrating with Joé Juneau and his family at the 2016 NCAA Convention.”
When Joé Juneau arrived at Rensselaer, he spoke only French. He learned English while on campus, and also earned his aeronautical engineering degree in just three years. Juneau contributed immediately on the ice for Rensselaer, leading the team in assists and points in his first season. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins but elected to continue to play in college and went on to become just the second player in school history to exceed 50 assists in a single season.
Juneau was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (college hockey’s highest honor), garnered multiple All-America honors, and graduated as the only player in school history to lead the team in scoring all four years.
He also represented Canada in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in France, where he led all Olympians in scoring with 15 points and led Canada to a silver medal. He went on to a successful National Hockey League career, where he played for 15 seasons with six organizations. His 70 assists tied the NHL record by a rookie, and is still the NHL record for most assists by a left wing. He also finished with 102 points during his rookie season, the most ever by a first-year player and the fifth most of all time.
Juneau propelled the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance with an overtime goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. He finished his career with 156 goals and 416 assists in 828 NHL games, including 112 playoff games and two Stanley Cup Finals.
Following his NHL career, Juneau founded the Nunavik Youth Hockey Development Program in response to serious problems in the Nunavik community in Quebec with crime, poverty, and substance abuse. Nearly 10 years later, the program—which encourages academic progress and provides Inuit children with avenues to learn the sport of hockey—has more than 500 participants.
He has also served his native Canada in a variety of ways, including as Assistant Chef de Mission for the Canadian Olympic Team at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Read more about Juneau’s accomplishments at Rensselaer and in the NHL and beyond.