By Warren Kozireski —
The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation announced 15 nominees for the 2023 Hockey Humanitarian Award and three have connections with New York State.
In its 28th season, the award is presented annually at the Frozen Four to college hockey’s finest citizen; a student-athlete who makes significant contributions to his or her team as well as to the community-at-large.
RPI junior Hannah Price, Syracuse University junior Sarah Thompson and Buffalo Sabres 2019 first round draft pick Ryan Johnson, stand among the nominees.
Price is a senior on defense for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers. According to the Engineers press release, she has been “a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for the last three years, 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, where she was responsible for recruiting and promoting the event.
“On campus, Price has helped make National Girls & Women in Sports Day a resounding success, teaching basic hockey skills to area youth, who may not otherwise have the opportunity. She has also participated in a mentoring program with Troy School 14, meeting weekly over Google Meets with her reading partner, offering motivation, comprehension and fluency during the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.
“During her time in Troy, Price has worked with the Food Recovery Network, collecting leftover food from dining facilities and delivering the food to homeless shelters multiple times each week. She also works closely with Troy Street Soldiers II, where she hands out water, food and basic necessities to the less fortunate in the city.
“In her hometown of Pittsburgh, Hannah spearheaded the city’s participation in Natural Resource Defense Council’s Food Matters program as a Food Policy intern. Through her efforts, they were able to increase the size, diversity, and participation of Food Matters Working Group. She was key in the successful campaign for Food Matters Month (December 2021) including social media outreach with all working group members, and a panel discussion with local leaders in the field.”
Thompson is a junior forward with the Orange. Fourteen months ago, she launched ‘Sticks Together’ to provide children opportunities in sport after three years in development. “EVERY KID regardless of gender, race, economic class or physical capability, deserves to participate in sports,” Thompson states on her SticksTogether.org website. “EVERYONE deserves something that makes them look forward to tomorrow. For me, that was hockey. And for many others, it could be too. As the creator of Sticks Together, my goal is to ensure that those kids get the chance to play and find out.”
The sport management major’s first ‘Sticks Together’ project was a humanitarian trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina from May 16 through June 6, 2022. Through the IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) Sport Development program, Thompson and Syracuse classmate Tracey Edson worked with young children and teenagers residing in the town of Recoleta to teach them the fundamentals of sports and health. She brought recycled hockey sticks and other street hockey equipment to the children to teach the game through the afterschool care program. She also provided every child with a program t-shirt.
The second ‘Sticks Together’ project is scheduled for May 2023 in Muizenberg, South Africa.
Johnson is in his senior year on the blueline at the University of Minnesota. In addition to taking on a leadership role on a young Golden Gophers squad, according to the team website he “has been active in the community since stepping on campus and helps run outreach around the area. He has played an important role with the Firebase Movement, a network of local churches and houses of prayer that seek to preach the Gospel to every man, woman and child in the Twin Cities.”
(Photos by RPI Athletics, Syracuse University Athletics and NHL.com)