The Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is given annually to the NCAA hockey player that best personifies community involvment through leadership, time, and effort, will be handed out this Friday at the Frozen Four, much like the Hobey Baker Award.
Unlike the Hobey, there are actually some finalists from the west for this award. Nebraska-Omaha's Jerad Kaufmann, Michigan State's Jeff Lerg, and Minnesota's Dagney Willey are all up for the award.
Their profiles, along with the seven other finalists are all after the jump.
Ryan Adler, Senior, Hobart College
If you sought a single person who personified excellence through teamwork, strong personal character and generosity of spirit, Ryan Adler would more than suffice. Spurred by an ad in a magazine, Adler sought to give back to the military by involving himself in the Wounded Warrior Project. Going further, Adler then created the Hobart Hockey Helpers, which, through various events, raised thousands of dollars to help severely injured service members and their families. Says Adler, “A great casualty should never be forgotten.”
Andrew Brolsma, Senior, Castleton State College
Brolsma has been involved in volunteerism throughout his college career including mentoring at an elementary school and volunteering with the local hockey association. .As campus president of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society, Brolsma organized a national back to school supply collection for children overseas. As a result of his leadership, the Vermont National Guard flew a cargo plane full of materials to Afghanistan.
Greg Copeland, Senior, Marian University
Copeland spent four years helping anyone and everyone. He organized a ‘Pink Out’ night to raise money for cancer research, orchestrated a ‘sexual awareness week’ to profile the importance of public safety for women, held Halloween Trick or Treat events for underprivileged kids, and raised money to purchase food for needy families through ‘Cans Across the Conference.’ Says Copeland: “The best way to meet people? Get involved in the community.”
Ethan Cox, Junior, Colgate University
Since his freshman year, Cox has led Colgate in numerous charitable efforts, including raising more than $12,000 in donations to local and national charities. Impressively, his leadership helped raise a $25,000 donation to the American Cancer Society. Cox’ other activities included coordinating successful events such as a holiday toy drive, a canned food drive for a local food shelf, Face-off Against Cancer Pledge Drive, and a MS Walk.
Missy Elumba, Senior, Northeastern University
Throughout her collegiate life, Elumba always put others ahead of herself, from teaching pre-schoolers, to community fundraising. Elumba has perhaps made her biggest impact by traveling abroad to help the less fortunate in places like Mexico and India, where she spent the bulk of two successive summers. “We have so many blessings in life,” says Elumba, “why not take the blessings we have and use them to bless someone else?”
Eric Greene, Senior, SUNY Plattsburgh
Team captain Greene is a leader both on and off the ice. Greene is involved with numerous charities including serving as co-chair of a local Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser which raised more than $12,000. He is also actively involved in fundraising for the North Country Down Syndrome Association. Known for being at the forefront of team community service projects, Greene puts in the extra effort to ensure goals are met.
Crysti Howser, Senior, Yale University
“Crysti understands that there are more important things in life than this game and that there are people who have less than she does…she wants those people to fulfill their dreams,” says Yale coach Hilary Witt. Howser is involved in many activities including working with local homeless shelters through the Yale Sports Empowerment Program and volunteering significant time for Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life. Howser clearly has a talent and passion for service.
Jerad Kaufmann, Senior, University of Nebraska-Omaha
A goaltender, Kaufmann always gave freely of his time while he wasn’t tending the Mavericks net. But when a friend died overseas while serving in Iraq, Kaufmann was both saddened and inspired. He organized, from start to finish, two successive Military Appreciation Nights, which collectively raised nearly $25,000 for various military related charities. “It’s made me more appreciative of what I have,” says Kaufmann. “Life is bigger than the game.”
Jeff Lerg, Senior, Michigan State University
A star both on and off the ice, Lerg has touched his community in numerous ways, dedicating his time to a wide-spanning community initiatives like Hike for Hospice, the Children’s Miracle Network and the Blow the Whistle on Asthma fundraiser. His greatest work though came in the form of the Spartan Buddies program, where Lerg and fellow MSU athletes visited critically/terminally ill children at an area hospital. Lerg was also a Big Brother to a local boy for nearly four years. Lerg is a special individual, and special to everyone around him.
Dagney Willey, Senior, University of Minnesota
Willey’s community service has benefited many different groups and organizations. She has been involved with Big Brothers/Sisters for three years and served as a counselor at Camp Jornada, a camp for kids affected by cancer. Her passion to help children in need is further reflected in her participation in a children’s hospital hospice program, HopeKids and Relay for Life. And it was through her efforts that the team ‘adopted’ of a family of five for the holidays, which resulted in many gift and monetary donations.