ST. PAUL, Minn. — Boston College sophomore forward Brooks Dyroff was awarded the 2011 Hockey Humanitarian Award Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The award was created in 1996 to recognize college hockey student-athletes, Division I or III, male or female, who give back to their communities in the true humanitarian spirit.
Dyroff became the second Boston College player, after Sarah Carlson in 2005, to win the award.
Dyroff, of Boulder, Colo., started CEO 4 Teens (Creating Educational Opportunities For Teens; www.ceo4teens.com) with his childhood friend Kenny Haisfield. The two had traveled to Indonesia while in high school and started the organization after returning.
The organization seeks to provide 10 scholarships per year to send underprivileged kids in Indonesia to Campuhan College in Bali, Indonesia. In its four years of existence, CEO 4 Teens has sent 40 kids to college. The initial scholarship amount was $600, but has increased to $1,000 since the organization was founded, so he and Haisfield look at creative ways to raise about $10,000 annually.
“We grew up playing hockey together,” Dyroff said of Haisfield. “He moved from South Florida and was a roller hockey player, and we had him try out for our mite team when he was 8 years old. He fell in love with it. A little inside joke is that he wore roller hockey pants when he first played with us. We were attached at the hip. We work really well together, and we founded this nonprofit to advocate education.
“The students receive a one-year English and computer skills class at the local college. We are really lucky to have met the director of the school, and he actually helps us get the applications out and he dwindles the number down to an initial 50 to 20, and then Kenny and I select from those remaining.”
“Brooks has done so many things now, it’s incredible,” said Eagles coach Jerry York. “They have a phrase now: ‘It’s not how many times you touch the puck, it’s how often you touch human lives,’ and he’s carried that to the gist of that whole feeling. He’s a man for others.
“It’s interesting, because when we were recruiting Chris Kreider, he played on the same team, and the coach, Dean Boylan, said, ‘I know you are going to recruit Chris hard, but just take a look at my other player, Brooks Dyroff, who is the captain; he’d be such a great addition to your team, and I think he can play at your level.’ He was overlooked a little bit, but he’s come a long way and he’s played eight or nine games for us this year.”
Dyroff has been involved in many other service projects. While in high school, he and Haisfield donated time to homeless shelters and community food shares.
At Boston College, using the CEO 4 Teens model, he’s building a program at nearby Roxbury (Mass.) Community College to help underprivileged high school students obtain their GEDs. Last year, at about $400 per person in cost, he helped three kids sit for the GED exam.
Additionally, Dyroff established a local version of Mathletes, an after-school math enrichment program.
“We are affiliated with a local Catholic grammar school, and we meet with a fifth-grade class there, and it’s become special,” said York. “It’s a good kind of Big Brother situation. They come to our games, and it’s a nice touch when you are going through the season to have something other than hockey, hockey, hockey.”
“Our president, Father [William] Leahy is so excited by us reaching out to the community. They have academics, hockey, and they are reaching into the community, and Brooks is spearheading a lot of those situations for us.”
Boston College is a Jesuit school, and the Jesuits have long promoted the concept of service to others. For Dyroff, going to BC is a natural extension of his long devotion to helping others.
“It’s one of the reasons I was hoping to go to BC and get recruited by Coach York,” said Dyroff. “It’s a wonderful place and I think a lot of the stuff I grew up learning from my parents I see at Boston College. I can still remember the first time I met with Coach York and talked with him. We talked about some of the efforts with CEO 4 Teens, and he told me about some of the things he had been doing with the players at BC, and it seemed like a perfect fit.”
Video: Brooks Dyroff:
Video: Jerry York on Dyroff: