Each year all 30 teams of the American Hockey League (AHL) select one player each, to be their “Man of the Year”. Selections are based on their “outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations”. The representatives from each of the teams are then grouped together, as finalists, and an overall winner is chosen for the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award.
Dupre was an AHL all-star in 1995, who played four seasons with the Hershey Bears and also skated in 35 games with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Dupre lost his battle with leukemia after 16 months, in 1997.
This year the Hartford Wolf Pack have named Ryan Bourque as a first time honoree. Bourque spent much of his free time reading to children of all ages in local Hartford schools in support of the team’s “Read to the Rink” program. In addition to reading, Bourque also took the lead on other events, through the team, which helped raise over $25,000. The money was for the benefit of the Special Olympics, The Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and Gaylord Specialty Healthcare. As if that wasn’t enough, Bourque also spent time with youth hockey teams during their practices in a various capacities. This year is the first time Bourque was nominated for the award. The winner will be announced later this month, as the AHL regular season draws to an end. The only other winner from the Hartford Wold Pack was Brent Thompson, who won for the 1998-99 season.
Bourque is the son of the Boston Bruins’ legendary hall of famer Ray Bourque and brother of current Bruins’ forward, Chris Bourque. Hockey is in his genes and he was clearly raised with values. He joined the Wolf Pack back in the 2011-12 season and was a part of the New York Rangers’ playoff roster in 2012-13. You can read the entire list of nominees on the AHL website by clicking here.