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 2019-20 season.
Over his five seasons with the Crunch, Walcott has consistently worked with a variety of organizations to become a socially informed and active member of the Syracuse community.
Walcott worked with PEACE, Inc. to become a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program during the 2018-19 season. After a rigorous background check and interview process, he was matched with his little, Jeremiah. Walcott spent part of the summer in Syracuse where he purchased a house and continued to be a mentor for Jeremiah. His work with Jeremiah and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program continued into the 2019-2020 season.
Being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program means making a large time commitment and becoming responsible as a mentor for a young member of the Syracuse community. In addition to activities, Walcott has spent two seasons building 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.
Walcott consistently maintains 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 visited the children’s hospital and spent time doing arts and crafts with the kids during BHG’s annual holiday party. Additionally, he participated in celebrity bartending to raise money for the Upstate Cancer Center.
During his time in Syracuse, Walcott has become personally close with a number of fans and corporate partners. He wore an “I Fight For Bob Richards” patch on his jersey during the team’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night to honor a friend and long-time Crunch season ticket holder during his battle.
Walcott has also 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.
To further his understanding of Syracuse, Walcott did ride-alongs with Officer Dave Demand of the Syracuse Police Department. These ride-alongs offered Walcott the opportunity to learn about the community and develop a stronger appreciation for local law enforcement.
Once the season was postponed, Walcott worked with the front office to take over the team’s TikTok account and create content for fans. The content was meant to provide fans with some entertainment and laughs during a difficult time.
Walcott’s positive energy and willingness to interact with the fans makes him a favorite in Syracuse. He consistently volunteers to participate in team events and motivates his teammates to do the same. He works with the front office to ensure he is in tune with community needs and puts his valuable time to good service. His involvement with the community and fans makes him a great role model on the team and a positive representative of the Syracuse Crunch organization.
Walcott is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2019-20 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.