Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation Announces Five Finalists for 2019

By Pete Souris

The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation today announced the five finalists for the 2019 Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented annually to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service.

Cam Beecy (Stowe, Vt.), Senior, Defense, Norwich University

Beecy has embodied the epitome of the NCAA student-athlete during his four years as an Air Force ROTC scholarship recipient at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. Beecy has lived the core values of Norwich, putting service to others before self as a leader on the ice, in the classroom and in the community. In the Summer of 2018, Beecy organized and hosted an outdoor-circuit workout competition designed to champion suicide prevention in Stowe, Vt. that raised $8,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He serves as a Youth Ambassador Board member for a local non-profit organization called Positive Tracks, as well as captained its youth team for several years at the prestigious Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament. Beecy carries a 3.82 GPA as a nursing major and has been a two-time New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) All-Academic team honoree. He has also served a youth hockey summer camp coach for the Vermont Flames for the past five years. Last year, he was the head coach of a 12-year-old youth hockey team in Central/Northern Vermont. Upon graduation in May, Beecy will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and is proud to embark on his career as a military nurse while serving his country.

Jake Bunz (Middleton, Wis.), Senior, Defense, University of Wisconsin

Bunz was heavily involved in the creation of Fond Blanc Foundation, his interest stemming from a mission trip he made to Haiti in 2012. After the 2010 earthquake, an orphanage was destroyed in Port au Prince, then relocated to Fond Blanc. After an initial week spent, he returned home motivated to do more. The foundation began with the goal of helping with medical supplies, food and education for 40 children, which is now up to about 65. They also now provide education to approximately 450 kids, with aims towards nutritional and medical self-sufficiency. He’s helped with fundraising here, inspired a dozen other student-athletes to make the trip, and has made 12 trips down so far himself to help out with things such as repairing roads and building the buildings, including teacher housing so the educators stay around to provide consistent instruction. His family also hosts a Haitian in their home here who is studying to eventually be able to return to Haiti and run the school. Described as an all-around team guy that every team should have around, Jake is a two-time Academic Big Ten skater as a real estate major.

Annie Pankowski (Laguna Hills, Calif.), Redshirt Senior, Forward, University of Wisconsin

A two-time Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist, Wisconsin senior forward Annie Pankowski has made a huge mark on the program as she ranks in the top-10 in program in almost every offensive category. But she has made a tremendous mark off the ice, volunteering with Occupaws, an organization that trains guide dogs in Wisconsin. For most months of the year, Pankowski takes in a puppy and helps prepare it for its future role as a guide dog, taking it wherever she goes while balancing a busy academic and athletic schedule. In fact, she has volunteered more than 2000 hours with Occupaws while also finding time to volunteer at the UW Comparative Orthopedic Research Laboratory and in several different Badgers Give Back programs. Her work ethic, determination and dedication has been noticed by her teammates as she was named a co-captain this year as they believe those traits rub off on the team. The 2016 NCAA Elite 90 Award recipient, Pankowski, a zoology major, is a three-time WCHA Scholar Athlete recipient and plans to attend veterinary school after her time at UW.

Tommy Parran (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Senior, Defense, Ohio State University

Parran, through his volunteer and community work starting in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and continuing during his time in Columbus, has made an impact both locally and abroad. While his personal commitment to service is strong, he has a strong desire to instill service throughout the athletics department and other Buckeye teams as a whole by the time he graduates. Parran is on the executive board of the Ohio State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) as the Director of Community Service. In that role, he coordinates with local outreach programs to better local Columbus communities, encourages service for both his own team and the other Buckeye squads, coordinates days and locations for volunteer dates and has planned service events for the athletics department. He is part of Peer Educators, a student-athlete group that focuses on helping freshmen make the transition to college as well as be a resource for current student-athletes. In addition to his work in the local community, Tommy’s scope extended with his trip to Thailand in the summer of 2017 with a group from the Ohio State athletics department through Global Vision International, where they engaged in sportsrelated and life skills activates with the local youth in the Phang Nga province. An English major with a history minor, Parran has earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honors. He was part of the Bucks Go Pro internship program last summer, where he worked with the Ohio State athletics administration.

Luke Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), Senior, Forward, SUNY-Fredonia

Rivera is a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award for the second straight season. The senior forward from Pacific Palisades, Calif., has been the driving force behind his team’s Stroke Awareness Game, which was held for the third consecutive year. A freshman at the time, Luke approached Fredonia Head Coach Jeff Meredith and asked to start the Stroke Awareness Game the following season. His motivation came from his mother, Dana, nearly 10 years removed a stroke that had left her paralyzed from head to toe. Following surgeries and rehab, Dana Rivera now makes speaking appearances to advocate for other stroke patients in her native Southern California. With the help of his grandmother, Arleen Bachner, Luke and the Fredonia hockey community has raised nearly $30,000 for the Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. Luke missed the entire 2017-18 season with an injury but has returned in 2018-19 to lead his team in goals and a national ranking through 17 games. Said Coach Meredith: “Luke’s work in the Stroke Awareness Game is testament to who he is as a young man and the level of care he has. Since his arrival in Fredonia he has wanted to make a difference in our community, and he truly has.”

Sidney Peters from the University of Minnesota was honored as the 2018 recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

The 24th recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award will be announced Friday, April 12th as part of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Buffalo, N.Y. Additionally, the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation will make a donation to the charity most important to each of the five finalists. These donations are made possible with the generous support of the award’s partners and donors.