SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch are proud to announce that Daniel Walcott has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Syracuse community during the 2018-19 season.
Throughout the season, Walcott has worked to become a socially informed and active member of the Syracuse community. Walcott suffered an injury during a Tampa Bay Lightning preseason game and spent six months rehabbing with the team before returning to the ice on March 23. While unable to skate or play in games, he focused completely on becoming a leader and mentor within the Syracuse community. Throughout his four years in Syracuse, Walcott has adopted a sense of social responsibility and his outreach has extended beyond hockey.
This season, Walcott worked with PEACE, Inc. to become a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. After a rigorous background check and interview process, Walcott was matched with his little, Jeremiah. Since being matched, Walcott and Jeremiah and done numerous activities with each other around Syracuse, including bowling and attending Crunch games.
Being a mentor within the Big Brothers Big Sisters program means making a large time commitment and becoming responsible for a young member of the Syracuse community. In addition to activities, Walcott has built a relationship with Jeremiah as a role model. He helps Jeremiah with his homework and is in contact with Jeremiah’s mother to help him with in-school behavior and responsibilities.
While unable to skate and working on a different schedule from his teammates, Walcott worked to maintain a strong relationship with both his team and the fan base. He continued to be a leader in the team’s efforts to raise money and support the greater Syracuse community. During the holiday season, Walcott joined his teammates in decorating ornaments that were sold during a December game to support the team’s Change for Change campaign benefitting Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. He has also participated in celebrity bartending to raise money for the Salvation Army’s Hope for the Holidays.
During his time in Syracuse, Walcott has built relationships with a number of fans and corporate partners. He has spent his time at different schools, organizations and community centers. He continued the annual visit to Canton Woods Senior Center to spend an afternoon playing pool and shuffleboard with recreation members. He also visited French Clubs and local high schools to speak to the students about being bilingual and cultural diversity, while encouraging their study of another language.
Walcott’s positive energy and willingness to interact with the fans makes him a favorite in Syracuse. Not only does he consistently volunteer to participate in team events, he motivates his teammates to do the same. He worked with the front office this season to ensure he is in tune with community needs and put his increased available time to good service. His involvement with the community and fans make him a great role model on the team and a positive representative of the Syracuse Crunch organization.
This is Walcott second consecutive season as Syracuse’s IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.
Walcott is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.