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Herb Brooks Award reaches 10th year

By Herb Brooks Foundation & MN Hockey Hub staff, 02/14/13, 2:30PM CST

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Original winner Greg Flynn of Centennial to present this year's award at state tournament

The Herb Brooks Award, presented to a Minnesota high school hockey player for all-around leadership and character values, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at the Minnesota State High School League girls’ state tournament on Feb. 2,3 and the boys’ state tournament on March 9. 

The Herb Brooks award is given to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics and traits that defined Herb Brooks.

This prestigious award commemorates the enduring influence Herb Brooks has on the sport of hockey in Minnesota and throughout the world.

The Herb Brooks Award is supported by the Herb Brooks family, the Minnesota State High School League, the boys and girls high school hockey coaches associations and the Herb Brooks Foundation.

The award is presented on-ice at the Xcel Energy Center on live television on KSTC Channel 45 immediately after the Class 1A and 2A championship games. 

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, one of the original four award winners, Greg Flynn, will return to present the 10th boys’ award winners on March 9. Flynn, who was the captain of the 2004 state championship team at Centennial, went on to a stellar career at the Air Force Academy.

At the AFA, Flynn was voted alternate team captain during his senior year, and averaged a point per game while playing from the blue line. He helped the Falcons to three straight NCAA tournament appearances (2007, 2008 and 2009), including an upset win over regional top-seed Michigan in the first round of the 2009 tournament. 

After graduation from the Academy, Flynn played for the Lowell Devils in the American Hockey League before being deployed to Afghanistan as an active Air Force officer. He returned to the U.S. in February of 2012, and is currently stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. 

“As a family, we could not be more honored to have Greg here in person to present the 10th anniversary boys’ award,” said Kelly Brooks Paradise, Herb’s daughter. “This is an important milestone year for the Herb Brooks Award. After 10 years, it’s gratifying to see what the past winners have accomplished on and off the ice. Greg’s presence not only honors this year’s winners, but also the prestigious fraternity of 36 past award winners.”

Here is a list of past Herb Brooks Award winners, with some details on what they accomplished, post-award: 

2004:
Girls A: Danny Blacker, Hibbing/Chisholm, played college hockey at Gustavus Adolphus. 
Girls AA: Molly McDonald, Lakeville, Played hockey for four years at Cornell University. After graduation, went on to Ohio State University, where she earned a degree in optometry. She is currently an optometrist in Edina, Minn.
Boys A: Pat Dynan, Orono, played college hockey at Gustavus Adolphus.
Boys AA: Greg Flynn, Centennial, see biography above. 

2005:
Girls A: Kayla Hagen, Hibbing/Chisholm, played college hockey at Wisconsin. 
Girls AA: Kellye Nelson, Centennial, after helping Centennial to their first state tournament, Kellye played at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She currently works in marketing in Perth, Australia. 
Boys A: Jon Breuer, Albert Lea, played for Alexandria in the NAHL for two years, Currently works in Albert Lea where he still plays adult hockey. 
Boys AA: Mike Wallgren, Tartan, playing college hockey at St. John’s University (MN). 

2006:
Girls A: Brittany Dunkel, Warroad, played college hockey at Wisconsin-Superior. 
Girls AA: Chelsey Jones, Stillwater, after leading her Stillwater team to the state title, Jones played at Northeastern for two years before transferring back to Minnesota, where she helped the Gophers to two Frozen Fours. 
Boys A: Karl Gilbert, Hermantown, after playing college hockey at St. John’s University, Gilbert played a year of pro hockey in England. He currently lives in Duluth and is the assistant coach at Proctor/Hermantown. 
Boys AA: Matt Olson, Blaine, played college hockey at St. Olaf. 

2007:
Girls A: Abby Williams, Alexandria, played college hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato before transferring to Bemidji State. 
Girls AA: Lindsey Mortinson, Burnsville. 
Boys A: Chad Huttel, Hermantown, played on UMD’s NCAA championship team as a senior in 2011. Currently plays pro hockey in England. 
Boys AA: Joe Stejskal, Grand Rapids, after playing college hockey at Dartmouth, he Stejskal was selected in the fifth round of the NHL draft by the Montreal Canadians. Currently playing for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. 

2008:
Girls A: Ashley Holmes, Alexandria, played four years of college hockey at UND. 
Girls AA: Emily Erickson, Grand Rapids/Greenway, currently at senior playing for Bemidji State, where she was the Beavers’ leading goal scorer as a junior. 
Boys A: Bryce Ravndalen, Warroad, played college hockey at Wisconsin-River Falls. 
Boys AA: Joe Phillippi, Hill-Murray, after playing junior hockey with Fairbanks of the NAHL and Omaha of the USHL, currently a goalie at St. Cloud State. 

2009:
Girls A: Rosie Alleva, Red Wing, after earning all-state honors for three years in high school, Alleva is currently playing at Princeton, where she is studying Pre-Med. 
Girls AA: Gina McDonald, Irondale, currently a junior playing hockey at Harvard. 
Boys A: Riley Hirsch, Little Falls, currently playing baseball at Bemidji State.
Boys AA: Trent Johnson, Moorhead, currently playing hockey and football at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. 

2010:
Girls A: Fallon Macemon, Hutchinson, currently attends the University of St. Thomas. 
Girls AA: Caitlin Morris, Edina, 
Boys A: Casey Myhre, Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl, currently attending Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, coaching a Pee Wee B team in Virginia, Minn., and playing adult hockey.
Boys AA: Peter Sikich, Apple Valley, played college hockey at Wisconsin-River Falls. 

2011:
Girls A: Amanda Arbogast, Eveleth-Gilbert, currently playing at St. Cloud State. 
Girls AA: Carolyn Draayer, Minnetonka, currently playing at Gustavus Adolphus, where she was the second leading scoring freshman in the MIAC. 
Boys A: A. J. Reid, St. Thomas Academy, currently playing at Omaha of the USHL before starting at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year. 
Boys AA: David Garen, White Bear Lake, attends the University of St. Thomas. 

2012:
Girls A: Cori Fairbanks, Red Wing.
Girls AA: Sydney Helmbrecht, Grand Rapids/Greenway, currently a senior at Grand Rapids/Greenway. 
Boys A: Joseph Hanowski, Little Falls, currently playing baseball at Bemidji State. 
Boys AA: Michael Bitzer, Moorhead, currently playing for the USHL Lincoln Stars, committed to Bemidji State for next season. 
The Herb Brooks Award selection process:
The Herb Brooks Award selection committee is comprised of current and former high school hockey coaches and other hockey community members with connections to Herb. Herb’s son Dan and his daughter, Kelly Paradise, chair the committee that reviews nominations, observes nominees in state tournament games, and selects the winners. Winners are selected during the third period of the third-place game for each class at each tournament.
Characteristics and values that the selection committee looks for in nominees: 

  • A true love for hockey — a real passion 
  • Commitment and loyalty to school, team, and community 
  • A willingness to sacrifice for the team 
  • Integrity 
  • The courage of his/her convictions 
  • A goal-oriented approach 
  • A sharp focus and strong competitive drive 
  • An excellent work ethic 
  • A willingness to accept challenges 
  • Mental toughness 
  • Strong hockey skills 
  • Strong leadership qualities

About the Herb Brooks Foundation: 
The Herb Brooks Foundation is dedicated to growing the game of hockey and giving the game back to the kids. Founded in 2003 by Dan Brooks and Kelly Brooks Paradise, Herb’s family and friends created the foundation to preserve his legacy by continuing his life’s work by growing the game by “making hockey fun for kids and letting them learn to love the game the way we did.”  

The Herb Brooks Foundation is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. The Foundation has offices at the National Sports Center in Blaine, where they manage the Herb Brooks Training Center at the Schwan Super Rink, a dry land hockey training facility that fulfills the priority that Herb Brooks placed on dry land training.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com