PITTSBURGH — Saint Mary’s senior captain Delaney Wolf is the 2021 recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award.
The announcement was made during the virtual Friday Night at the Frozen Four awards ceremony.
The Bismarck, North Dakota, native was recognized for a long list of volunteer activities, which includes volunteering with the Humane Society, tutoring students, teaching elementary Spanish immersion students, serving at local senior living communities and working with a local warming center for the homeless.
Wolf has accomplished all of this while carrying a 4.0 GPA as a double major in biochemistry and Spanish and as a four-year defenseman for the Cardinals.
In preparing her acceptance speech, Wolf said she wanted to encourage others to volunteer and serve.
“Being involved with your community is what makes your community special and what makes it kind of feel like a home,” Wolf said. “Building those connections with people is especially important. And so by serving others, it’s a way to give back and build connections. And to grow as people from that.”
Wolf is the 10th woman and eighth Division III recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award, now in its 26th year.
“Each season, it is exciting to learn about many exceptional student-athletes who are committed to volunteerism,” said Matt Patrick, executive director of the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation. “Delaney’s academic and athletic achievements, leadership and long-term community focus are remarkable. We are delighted that she is this year’s recipient.”
The Hockey Humanitarian Award is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to a charity or non-profit of the recipient’s choice. Wolf selected the Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota for the Winona (Minnesota) Community Warming Center where she has served.
“I started going there my sophomore year, and I’ve met some pretty cool people. I got to know a lot of the regulars pretty well, and I know there’s a lot of stigma around homelessness,” Wolf said. “And a lot of the time, a lot of blame is placed on people who are affected by it.
“It’s really kind of amazing what the warming center does because it gives them somewhere where they feel safe and secure and know they can find somewhere warm to sleep, without having to worry about getting stopped by the police or getting mugged in an alley or something like that.”
Wolf readily admits that it wasn’t easy to serve at the warming center at first.
“I’m not going to lie,” Wolf said. “The first time I went I was nervous cause I was a young college-age girl and the majority of the guests there are middle-aged to older men who looked pretty rough because they don’t have the best living conditions. So knowing that, I was very on high alert, but once I got to know them, it was more like, ‘They’re just people too.'”
Saint Mary’s women’s hockey coach Sarah Murray said that while they had high expectations because it was Wolf’s second year as a finalist for the award, they were still “blown away by it.”
“As soon as we got the news, we called her right away,” Murray said. “And then there was just silence on the other end of the phone for a little bit, because I don’t think she could believe it either.”
Murray said that she has been asked how the culture at Saint Mary’s has shaped Delaney.
“Delaney came in the way she is,” Murray said. “She came in with the selflessness, the wanting to serve others like that. That had nothing to do with us. That was all her bringing that with her.
“She brings everyone along with her. People see what she does and they want to do the same thing, or even she brings them to the actual event and has them volunteer with her. They just look up to her leadership and just how she does things.”
Wolf’s advice to other student-athletes who would like to find a way to serve?
“Just start — because it’s hard to do it the first time. Because you don’t know what you’re doing or you don’t know anybody who’s going,” said Wolf.
“Bring a friend. Do something that you’ve never done before, because once you do it the first time, you know what to expect and it’ll be easy to go the second time. And hopefully you can find something that you can fall in love with.”