Five named as finalists for 2014 Hockey Humanitarian Award

The 2014 Hockey Humanitarian Award will be presented on April 11 in Philadelphia (photo: Jim Rosvold).

The list of 18 nominees for the 2014 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award has been trimmed to five finalists, the Hockey Humanitarian board of directors announced Monday.

The finalists are Cornell’s Alyssa Gagliardi, Vermont’s Danielle Rancourt, Holy Cross’ Jeffrey Reppucci, Notre Dame’s Joe Rogers and Colgate’s Jocelyn Simpson.

The award, in its 19th year, recognizes college hockey’s finest citizen and includes players from Divisions I, II and III and both genders. It will be presented on April 11 during the men’s Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

Here are profiles of the finalists provided by the Humanitarian Award:

Alyssa Gagliardi, Cornell

Senior defenseman from Raleigh, N.C.

While at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Cornell co-captain Gagliardi co-founded “USA Hockey Helping Haiti.” She also organized a “cops, kids and toys” holiday gift drive, which she successfully continued at Cornell. Alyssa also volunteers for Feed My Starving Children, Habitat for Humanity and at Salvation Army holiday gift drives. She is a Big Sister and a very active volunteer in Cornell’s Red Key Honorary Society, which broadly serves the Ithaca, NY community. She and a Cornell teammate were selected to be spokespersons for this season’s United Way fundraiser.

Danielle Rancourt, Vermont

Senior forward from Sudbury, Ontario

Aside from being a standout student and hockey player, Vermont assistant captain Danielle Rancourt has greatly affected the Burlington community through her 20-hour weekly commitment to Meals on Wheels and the NCAA College For Every Student (CFES) program. She considers her greatest accomplishment the ‘Pack the Gut’ fundraiser she initiated, where a record crowd supported Meals on Wheels at a UVM game. Danielle has also spearheaded the “Be Your Best” program that has matched the UVM Women’s Hockey Team with a local elementary school. Danielle has also demonstrated a peerless commitment to the College for Every Student program.

Jeffrey Reppucci, Holy Cross

Student assistant coach from Newburyport, Mass.

A career-ending injury has not stopped this Holy Cross senior from staying actively involved with the hockey team and his extensive off-ice works. Now a student assistant coach and game-day operations coordinator, Reppucci continues his humanitarian efforts with Students Helping Children Across Borders, a non-profit he founded to promote health and wellness through education, sports and recreation among underserved children in poor communities throughout the world. SHCAB has executed more than $125,000 worth of infrastructure development in the US, Russia, Argentina, Haiti and Uganda. In Suzdal, Russia, as part of his Playing For Peace initiative, he designed and implemented a $22,000 community building project centered on fighting alcoholism in children through sports and recreational programming. In Worcester, MA Jeffrey mobilized more than 540 college students last April to help build more than $62,000 worth of infrastructure improvements at 12 of the city’s recreational spaces.

Joe Rogers, Notre Dame

Senior goaltender from Marysville, Mich.

Having overcome a physical disability himself — an underdeveloped right hand — Rogers has dedicated his time as a mentor to disabled youth. Rogers has befriended, mentored and acted as a role model for several young athletes throughout the country. He has also worked with several organizations, including Feed My Starving Children, Junior Diabetes, and the River City Sled Rovers sled hockey team, for which he spends many hours attending practices, helping kids with their gear, and just talking hockey. In addition, Rogers is now on the Board of Directors for Hockey Saves, an organization that unites the game of hockey with members of the military and their families.

Jocelyn Simpson, Colgate

Senior defenseman from Shorewood, Ill.

An Education major and assistant team captain, Jocelyn Simpson has dedicated much of her community service to working closely with autistic children. As an underclassman, she began working at a camp called “Stepping Stones,” helping supervise a group of 30 special needs campers. She later joined the “Oz Project,” a drama, music and recreation program that helps children learn skills to navigate social situations. For four years, Jocelyn has organized the team’s Autism Awareness game/fundraiser, raising more than $25,000 for Autism Speaks.

The nominees, originating from recommendations made by coaches and administrators, were unveiled in January.

U.S. College Hockey Online has been a Hockey Humanitarian Award media and marketing partner since 2007.