Hockey Humanitarian Award announces finalists for 2017 honors

A new version of the Humanitarian Award debuted in 2015. (Jim Rosvold)
A new version of the Humanitarian Award debuted in 2015 (photo: Jim Rosvold).

The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation on Thursday announced the five finalists for the 2017 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service.

The award’s long-time presenting sponsor is BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Here are bios on the finalists, courtesy of the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation:

Anders Bjork – (Mequon, Wis.) Junior Forward, Notre Dame
Junior co-captain Anders Bjork has been an offensive force for the Fighting Irish as the team’s top scorer and one of the nation’s most prolific point producers. Both on and off the ice, Bjork has a unique ability to connect with fans of all ages, especially children. Through that connection, Bjork has made a difference in the Notre Dame community and beyond. He has spent countless hours over the last two seasons just a few blocks south of the Compton Family Ice Arena at the Perley Fine Arts Academy in South Bend, Ind., where he has worked closely with a third-grade classroom, mentoring, teaching and befriending over 30 students. Always a willing listener who has become a permanent fixture in the classroom, Bjork has helped teach important lessons about hard work, overcoming adversity and bullying.

Collin Delia – (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) Junior Goaltender, Merrimack
Collin Delia has been an inspiration to his coaches, teammates and the Merrimack College community over the last three years. His sense of passion and humility is based in the knowledge that nothing in life, especially on the ice, is guaranteed. That mindset has generated enviable results: a civil engineering major, Delia is a two-time Hockey East All-Academic Team selection. Over the last few years, Delia has become an important presence in the life of Lucas St. Onge, a child who is challenged by several major medical issues. Lucas, 5, has beaten the medical odds throughout his life and Delia has become an extension of Lucas’ family. Delia is also part of Merrimack’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and works with CRU and Athletes in Action. He recently oversaw a project that involved the delivery of care packages to homeless shelters in Boston. Delia has also led his teammates in a number of community service initiatives, including the Lazarus House in Lawrence, Mass., as well as the Challenger Program via the Woburn Youth Hockey Organization.

Danny Divis – (Media, Pa.) Senior Defenseman, St. Michael’s
Justin McKenzie – (Hawthorne, N.J.) Senior Forward, St. Michael’s
As juniors, Danny Divis and Justin McKenzie co-founded Hope Happens Here, promoting mental health wellness and awareness among college students, particularly student-athletes. HHH promotes its mission during various sporting events and provides posters with mental health tips and resources for each team’s locker room. Divis and McKenzie aim to spread this important message by presenting it to local high school students. Their organization also speaks at local mental health workshops and conventions. It’s not unusual to see a Saint Michael’s student wearing one of HHH’s “You Are Loved” T-shirts around campus; special jerseys created for mental health awareness games are sold as fundraisers. They also fundraise for To Write Love on Her Arms and the Movember Foundation. A captain, Divis has been All-Conference numerous times and earned the Northeast-10 Conference Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award and Capital One Academic All-District as a junior. An assistant captain, McKenzie is a blue-collar center for the Purple Knights and is a peer advocate for the campus’ Student Support Network.

David Goodwin – (St. Louis, Mo.) Senior Forward, Penn State
Captain David Goodwin has been the face of Penn State hockey during his four years on campus: he is the leading scorer and first-ever 100-point player in program history. But, it is what Goodwin does outside the arena that makes the biggest impact. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Goodwin impresses most by putting others first. Along with volunteering at special needs schools and working one-on-one with mentally challenged students, Goodwin commits personal time during summers to travel to less fortunate countries to work in local communities. He has helped teach at elementary schools, built retaining walls in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and he spent time in Mexico volunteering while getting closer to fluency. Most recently, Goodwin taught an English course at a university in Cuba. These impressive efforts have led to Goodwin’s candidacy for the Senior CLASS Award.

Mika Nervick – (Lakeville, Minn.) Senior Forward, Quinnipiac
Mika Nervick embodies the highest standards of personal character, scholarship and selflessness found among college hockey’s best. Beyond the ice, Quinnipiac University’s senior forward displays an unrivaled warmth, passion and sense of purpose as the team’s Community Service Coordinator. Her outreach to students, administrators and community leaders in support of numerous causes, most notably the promotion of mental health awareness and the mentorship of at-risk high school students, demonstrates a unique ability to think big, clearly communicate ideas and inspire people. During the past year, Nervick helped raise thousands of dollars and personally developed and initiated a department-wide mentorship program. Coordinating almost 50 Quinnipiac student-athlete volunteers, Nervick helms a program that addresses the issues of leadership, motivation and self-confidence with over 100 at-risk students from a local high school.

The recipient will be announced Friday, April 7, as part of the Frozen Four in Chicago.

Additionally, the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation will make a donation to the charity most important to each finalist. These donations are made possible with the generous support of the award’s partners and donors.

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

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