The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announced the five finalists for the 2022 Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented annually to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service.
Jacob Adkins (Centennial, Col.) and Andrew Walker (Mason, Mich.), Junior Forwards, UMass Boston
The duo that dubbed themselves the “Men in Blades,” are repeat finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award after continuing in their efforts to raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). The “Men in Blades” began their fundraising efforts in the summer of 2020 when they rollerbladed 875 miles from Boston to Mason, Michigan to raise money for the ACS. The duo’s grueling 10-day journey during a heat wave raised awareness of the need for continued donations for cancer research and brought in over $31,000 for the ACS. While they decided they didn’t want to rollerblade 875 miles again, that hasn’t stopped the “Men in Blades” from continuing to find new ways to raise money and awareness for the ACS. Last summer, they organized a “Back-to-School Blade-A-Thon” for late August. The goal was to host a more inclusive 10K event where members of the UMass Boston and hockey community could all participate, while also continuing to raise money for cancer research. Despite the event being cancelled at the last moment due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, the duo raised over $4,000 for the ACS. They teamed up to plan and organize the first-ever UMass Boston men’s hockey “Hockey Fights Cancer” game in December. As part of the contest, the Beacons held a Toy Drive for kids with cancer and carried out a raffle and sold items for ACS. They also designed custom pink jerseys for the game. In total, the “Men in Blades” raised over $5,000 for the ACS in 2021.
Gabbie Hughes (Lino Lakes, Minn.) Senior, Forward, Minnesota Duluth
Hughes, who has spent most of the season leading the NCAA in points per game and as one of its top scorers, is heavily involved in Sophie’s Squad, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the mental health of athletes from the youth level to college by raising awareness of mental health issues and removing the stigma associated with getting help. She was one of the founders of the organization and is committed as a board/committee member who attends regular meetings, runs all the social media accounts, and works to promote the organization. Hughes, who recently helped coordinate the Sophie’s Squad and Hockey Hits Back game for the Bulldogs on Jan. 15 that raised $8,000 to provide resources to mental health organizations around Minnesota, is involved in the organization in many ways. Hughes does everything from help pack bags for game participants to lending her presence at games behind the tables, driving all over Minnesota to support the organization. All in on the importance of mental health, the assistant captain also joined the leadership board of the Green Bandana Project this fall. The Green Bandana Project is a student athlete-led mental health awareness campaign at UMD that was started by the athletic department’s SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee) in the Fall of 2019.
Jordan Keeley (St. Peter, Minn.) Senior, Goaltender, Saint Mary’s University
Keeley, a four-year member of the women’s hockey team, has been extremely active in the community. Her most recent volunteering activities included being the leader of the Saint Mary’s campus Green Bandana Project, which included organizing the Run2ForSMU Green Bandana fundraising event and hosting the We Are Not Really Broken Summit to develop next steps in Green Bandana curriculum about mental health meeting leadership. Keeley also ran and walked 250 miles in 100 days in the summer of 2021 to help raise funds for the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance (raised $1,100 for this year’s recipient). She served as volunteer coach for the Winona Youth Hockey Association summer program and for Winona’s “Try Hockey for Free” event. Keeley logged over 70 hours serving as a dog walker at the Winona Humane Society and was a member of the fundraising and foster board for Alma Tails of Hope. She also fostered bottle-baby kittens for Tails of Hope when COVID sent students home to quarantine in 2020. Keeley also volunteered at the hospital information desk at Winona Health.
Josh Kosack (Oakville, Ont.), Senior, Forward, Union College
Kosack raised $45,000 for C.O.C.O.A. House in the second annual Kozi’s Kids fundraiser, bringing his two-year total to over $50,000. Money from the fundraiser went towards buying Christmas presents for local children, the development of a Kozi’s Kids Lounge in C.O.C.O.A. House’s second location, and funding other projects for the non-profit. In December, Kosack helped purchase $10,000 worth of toys for Capital Region children and assisted in giving out the gifts over two days during the holidays. An event, which started as a way to get local youth to attend Union hockey games, Kosack’s involvement with C.O.C.O.A. House now includes spending one afternoon a week at the facility, helping with homework and playing games. Kosack took his teammates to C.O.C.O.A. House in September to set up the house for the 2021-22 school year and hopes to pass his leadership role onto younger members of the team to continue his work.
Hannah Price (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Junior, Defenseman, Rensselaer
Price has been a leader on and off the ice for the Engineers since stepping on campus in 2019. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), she has helped expand the group’s efforts to improve the RPI community and surrounding area, including a co-sponsored blood drive with the American Red Cross, and making National Girls & Women in Sports Day a resounding success, teaching basic hockey skills to area youth, who may not otherwise have the opportunity. She also participates in a reading and mentoring program with Troy School 14. During her time in Troy, she has worked with the Food Recovery Network, collecting leftover food from dining facilities and delivering it to homeless shelters. Working closely with Troy Street Soldiers II, she hands out water, food, and basic necessities to the less fortunate in the city. In her hometown of Pittsburgh, she spearheaded the city’s participation in Natural Resource Defense Council’s Food Matters program. Through her efforts, the city was able to increase the size, diversity, and participation of Food Matters Working Group. She was key in the campaign for Food Matters Month (December 2021) including social media outreach and a panel discussion with local leaders in the field.
The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation selection committee narrowed the list of 11 nominees, which were announced in late January. Adkins and Walker, along with Kosack are repeat finalists from a season ago.
Delaney Wolf from Saint Mary’s University (MN) was honored as the 2021 recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award.
The 27th recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award will be honored in a ceremony on Friday, April 8 as part of the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four weekend in Boston, Mass. Additionally, the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation will make a donation to the charity that is most important to each of the five finalists. These donations are made possible with the generous support of the award’s partners and donors.