In October of 1995, two dads were watching their sons practice with their squirt hockey team. The coach? A volunteer. But not just any volunteer. A Division I college player who had recently recovered from a life-threatening accident that left him in a coma—with little hope of ever walking or talking again. And yet there he was, returning to the ice to help kids learn how to play the game he loved.
The dads were John Greenhalgh and Jeff Millman—Founding Directors of The Hockey Humanitarian Award. After seeing this courageous, kind-hearted act, they decided to start honoring athletes who kids could actually look up to.
So in February of 1996, John and Jeff handed out their very first award to the volunteer coach—J.P. McKersie of the BU Terriers.
Within weeks, they recruited people from the world of athletics, business, education, and the media who shared their passion to create a board of directors. And just four years later, The Hockey Humanitarian Award went national. Today it’s often referred to as “one of college hockey’s two most important awards.” And its message continues to resonate throughout college athletics.
Each year, nominations for young men and women from every college varsity hockey program are submitted. They represent athletes who respect the rules of the game both on and off the ice. Who give back to their communities not because it’s an obligation—but because they know enriching other people’s lives is a great way to do the same for their own.
The candidates are more than great athletes. They’re tomorrow’s leaders. And they’re exactly who John, Jeff, and the rest of The Foundation believe future generations should idolize. With blades of steel—and hearts of gold.