Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
On Friday of Frozen Four week, somebody will be picked the winner of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award.
This year’s recipient will be introduced in an afternoon ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Friday as part of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Humanitarian Award is awarded annually to college hockey’s finest citizen and seeks to recognize college hockey players, Division I or Division III, male or female, who give back to their community. We seek not to simply celebrate Hall of Fame athletes, but rather Hall of Fame human beings.
Here are the eight finalists:
Brooks Dyroff, Boston College
From Boulder, Colo., Dyroff is as much a humanitarian as he is a hockey player. A sophomore forward, he co-founded an organization called CEO 4 Teens, that has raised money to send Indonesian teens to school, as well as help Boston area teenagers obtain their GED’s. He also founded “Mathletes,” an after school math enrichment program. An avid filmmaker, Brooks was also a member of the 2009-2010 all-Hockey East academic team.
Alex Higgins, St. Michaels College
A senior forward from Phoenix, Higgins is the Purple Knights’ leader when it comes to volunteer efforts, and has organized activities such as a “learn to skate” program to connect students with low income housing residents. He has also given his time by volunteering at Wideko, a summer camp for the behaviorally challenged, as well as an internship at a local youth detention center.
Aleca Hughes, Yale University
Aleca has given of herself to help save the lives of others, especially teammate Mandi Schwartz (the sister of St. Louis Blues 2010 first round draft pick Jaden Schwartz), who has been battling with leukemia for over two years. Aleca and her teammates have organized two record setting Bone Marrow Transplant drives that added 1,600 potential donors to the National Marrow Donor Program’s “Be The Match” registry. She also organized other fundraisers for Mandi, two of which helped raise over $22,000 for Mandi and her family. A junior forward from Westwood, Mass., Aleca is a top student who has earned ECAC all-academic team honors in each of her first two years.
Sam Kuzyk, Adrian College
A senior winger from Winnipeg and repeat Humanitarian finalist, Sam is equal parts humanitarian and entrepreneur, in that most everything he has organized he started on his own and virtually from scratch. He has dedicated much of his time and effort to raise money and awareness for the local Hickman Cancer Center. He has also engaged in countless other activities, such as Salvation Army Family Sponsorships, a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Canada, and visits to local schools to read to students. Sam has been an MCHA all-academic team member for three years running.
Tucker Mullin, St. Anselm College
From Andover, Mass., the sophomore forward is passionately dedicated to helping those suffering from paralysis, and as a result co-founded the Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis Foundation, a 501C (3) non-for profit organization. Last summer, the foundation hosted a golf tournament that raised over $30,000 to help put the foundation on the map. He is also deeply involved in St. Anselm’s annual “Spin-to-Win the Fight against ALS” event. Mullin has been the trustee of the event since 2008, personally raising over $16,000 in donations.
Trevor Nill, Michigan State University
A junior forward from Novi, Mich., Nill was deeply moved by his mother’s battle with cancer, and at age 16, he and a friend organized ‘Bike Across Michigan, which raised over $2,500 for cancer research. At Michigan State, he has taken the lead on charities like Shoot for a Cure (which raises money to fight children’s cancer), and the “Spartan Buddies” program, which was started by past HHA nominee (and current Detroit Red Wing) Drew Miller, and creates interaction between students and patients at Sparrow Hospital’s pediatric ward. Nill is the son of current Detroit Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill.
Whitney Pappas, Robert Morris University
A senior defender from Evergreen, Colo., Pappas does it all, on the ice, in the classroom (six times a Dean’s List member), and in her community. She has volunteered for many events and organizations (such as Holy Angels Orphanage, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Skate for the Cure), and has led several initiatives such as Project Bundle (collecting coats, scarves, hats and gloves for St. Vincent DePaul), as well as numerous food drives. She also successfully interned at a recreation center back home in Colorado, for which she helped raise over $7,500 in cash sponsorships and over $10,000 in cash contributions.
Brigid O’Gorman, Connecticut College
For Brigid O’Gorman, a senior captain from Eden, N.Y., and repeat finalist, the world is her community. In the summer of 2010, she traveled to Uganda on a humanitarian mission for which she raised over $10,000. The funds went toward creating a solar powered medical records system. She also delivered children’s clothes, books and school supplies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHvrPOGEI10 ). Brigid also traveled to Uganda during her spring break in 2009. She has also given her time to organizations such as the High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center, along with Special Olympics Speed Skating of Southeastern Connecticut.
College hockey is going to get tougher on hits to the head.
Ten days ago the NCAA sent out a memo on the subject to all coaches, officials and, athletic directors.
On Wednesday, WCHA commish Bruce McLeod is going to have a teleconference call with all the coaches in his league to make sure they understand the new emphasis on hits to the head.
"We are following up," McLeod said on Tuesday. "The purpose is to further clarify the NCAA memo. .. We all need to be more diligent and raise the profile as much as could on contact to the head.
"They can't change rules. [That is done ever two years; 2010 is the next year rules can be amended.]"
But, even in going through the present rules, there is zero tolerance on contact to the head, McLeod said. But officials have discretion on the severity of the penalty. It could be a two-minute minor, a five-minute major or a disqualification.
"Even with players being in vulnerable positions or quote, on blind-side hits, if there is contact to the head in those situations," McLeod said, "it [a penalty] has to be called. ... And it can be contact to the head with any part of the body, an elbow, a shoulder."
So, in hindsight, when Jade Portwood of Alaska Anchorage broke the jaw of Gophers defenseman Nick Leddy last month, that should have been a penalty. None was called.
McLeod said "we" -- probably meaning him and Greg Shepherd, the supervisor of officials -- would run through some scenarios for coaches on Tuesday so all are up to speed on what will happen if there is contact to the head in games the rest of the season.
Gophers coach Don Lucia has to be happy about all this. After watching Portwood's hit to the head on Leddy on videotape, Lucia said it was illegal and college hockey needed to take action.
Now it has.
GOPHERS LINES JUGGLED
As Lucia promised on his Monday radio show, he has rewarded Jake Hansen for his improved play of late. Hansen, a sophomore winger, was on the second line during Tuesday's practice.
Here is a look at the lines, at least on Tuesday:
First line/ Jordan Schroeder centering Mike Hoeffel and Nico Sacchetti. ... No change there, Schroeder has been scoring goals lately. Hoeffel had a nice set-up pass, Sacchetti is more active.
Second line/ Mike Carman centering Tony Lucia and Hansen. ... Only Lucia remains on second line from last week. Carman was on third line playing left wing. Hansen has bounced around usually between third and fourth line.
Third line/ Taylor Matson centering Nick Laron and Zach Budish. ... Matson is still looking for his first goal this season. He is too good to be stuck at zero. Larson may have played his best game Saturday, Lucia said. Budish is being demoted from the second line. He has been taking penalties at bad times.
Fourth line/ This could easily be interchanged with the third line. Patrick White centering Ryan Flynn and Josh Birkholz. ... White seemed to be coming on, had goals in three consecutive games and was playing on second line. But he has been quiet past couple games.
Couple other notes: Nick Leddy, recovering from a broken jaw, was skating with his teammates during the non-contact portion of Tuesday's practice. He had a white jersey with a big red cross, indicating nobody should hit him. ... The Gophers were working on 2-on-1 rushes and power plays in the middle part of practice on Tuesday. Then I left. Watching drills puts me to sleep.
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