CHICAGO, IL, April 7, 2017 — Saint Michael’s College men’s ice hockey seniors Danny Divis and Justin McKenzie are this year’s recipients of the Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented by BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Award finalists included: Anders Bjork, University of Notre Dame; Collin Delia, Merrimack College; David Goodwin, Penn State University; and Mika Nervick, Quinnipiac University.
The Hockey Humanitarian Award is given each year to college hockey’s finest citizen —a student-athlete who makes significant contributions not only to his or her team, but also to the community-at-large through leadership in volunteerism. Divis and McKenzie are the first ever co-recipients of the award. Among other ventures, the duo has fulfilled that mission as founders of the campus organization Hope Happens Here (HHH), which promotes mental health awareness and wellness among college students, in particular, student-athletes.
As juniors, Divis and McKenzie co-founded HHH, creating a movement in "removing the stigma of mental health issues on college campuses." Beginning with presentations at a local high school and with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at the University of Vermont, the teammates went on to hold mental health awareness events at home games for various Saint Michael's sports and organized the “Pie a Purple Knight” fundraiser to promote their mission and raise funds for the organization.
Divis and McKenzie have continued to spread their message this school year by holding additional awareness events at basketball, field hockey, ice hockey and soccer games. Through Mental Health Awareness Games at men's and women's ice hockey home contests on January 29, HHH raised nearly $4,000 for one of its favorite charities, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), to which they will also donate their Hockey Humanitarian Award honorariums.
In addition to their work with HHH, Divis and McKenzie have supported various community causes in the past four years, including participating in the Vermont Walk to End Alzheimer's and the Vermont Pride Festival and Parade. They kept just as busy on the ice and in the classroom.
A captain for his senior year and a SAAC member, Divis was one of the highest-scoring defensemen in NCAA Division II/III ice hockey and was named all-conference by New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) and NE10 coaches for the second straight year this winter. The Media, PA native finishes with five all-league laurels during his career. Last year he received the NE10 Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award and a Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-District accolade. Divis has twice earned NE10 Academic All-Conference distinctions.
An assistant captain and steady contributor hailing from Hawthorne, NJ, McKenzie has been lauded with academic honors 10 times during his career. He is also a member of Saint Michael’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a peer advocate for the campus's Student Support Network.
The award was presented to Divis and McKenzie at the Aon Grand Ballroom as part of a broader celebration of the Frozen Four and college hockey, which included the presentation of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. The duo was also presented with an additional $2,500 check; and, all five HHA finalists received $500 for their respective designated charities. These donations from the HHA Foundation are made possible through the generous support of the award’s partners and donors.
Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, is awarded annually to college hockey’s finest citizen and seeks to recognize college hockey players, from all divisions, male or female, who give back to their community in the true humanitarian spirit. We seek not to simply celebrate Hall of Fame athletes, but rather Hall of Fame human beings.
“In the end, it’s not how many times you touch the puck, but how often you touch a life.”
For more information, please visit http://www.HockeyHumanitarian.org/ or follow us on Twitter @HHA_Foundation