Colgate defenseman Spiro Goulakos has been selected as the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I men’s hockey.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s hockey coaches, national hockey media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I men’s hockey. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive difference as leaders in their communities.
After making an impact as a freshman, Goulakos was forced to miss 10 games during his sophomore season when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rather than sitting out a season, he battled his way back and returned to limited action before the season was over and continued his treatments over the course of the summer. When he was cleared to return to full-time action as a junior, Goulakos made a triumphant return, completing his best statistical season, earning third-team All-ECAC honors and inspiring his team, coaches, opponents and fans.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be named the 2015 recipient of the Senior CLASS Award,” said Goulakos, the first player in coach Don Vaughan’s 22 seasons to be named team a team captain for more than one season, in a news release. “To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed when I first heard because I did not expect it. Now that it’s started to sink in, it just reaffirms for me how thankful I am to be in the position that I am here at Colgate. My time here has allowed me to grow both as a person and as a player. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of the Colgate community and the men’s ice hockey program.”
Throughout his college career, Goulakos also remained committed to academics, earning a Dean’s Award nod for his Fall 2014 semester GPA of 3.58. His dedication to outreach and helping others remained strong as well, as he participated in efforts with Team IMPACT and the inaugural Courage Classic to benefit Camp Good Days. Outside of team projects, Goulakos, after experiencing firsthand the effects of cancer, helped raise awareness for Hodgkin’s lymphoma through several events, including one fundraiser that brought in more than $2,000 for the Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton, N.Y.
“For a guy like Spiro, with everything that he’s been through, I think he epitomizes what the Senior CLASS Award stands for,” Vaughan added. “He’s so involved in all aspects of the university, obviously on the ice and at the rink, but also on campus and in the community. In my opinion, he’s the most deserving person for this award. I’m so proud of him.”
This season, Goulakos once again proved his toughness through adversity when he missed the final 12 games of the regular season due to a lower-body injury. He returned to the lineup for the postseason and played all four games for the Raiders to help lead them to the finals of the ECAC Hockey championship for the second consecutive season. For his efforts, Goulakos was named to the All-Tournament Team.
“For an athlete to excel in all four of the Senior CLASS Award categories despite battling cancer is nothing short of remarkable,” said Senior CLASS Award executive director Erik Miner in a statement. “We’re thrilled that the voters selected Spiro, as we believe he embodies a rare and outstanding kind of athlete and young man.”