Michigan State Press Release
Michigan State junior alternate captain Trevor Nill has been announced as one of seven finalists for the prestigious Hockey Humanitarian Award. One of the two largest individual awards in college hockey, it is presented at the same ceremony as the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
“I’m extremely humbled to be named a finalist for this award,” said Nill. “I’m honored to be part of such a diverse and giving group of finalists. I believe that being named a finalist also shows the commitment of Michigan State hockey to be involved in the community – so much of what I am able to do is a part of bigger programs started by former Spartans and continue with great support not only of the hockey program, but also the entire body of student-athletes."
The BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award is awarded annually to college hockey’s finest citizen and seeks to recognize college hockey players, Division I or Division III, male or female, who give back to their community in the true humanitarian spirit. The Humanitarian seeks not to simply celebrate Hall of Fame athletes, but rather Hall of Fame human beings.
Nill certainly falls into that category. He was selected as an alternate captain for the 2010-11 Spartan squad, elected by a vote of the team in advance of the season. He is also a leader among his peers as the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and as a vice president of the MSU chapter of Athletes in Action. He is a dedicated student, with a 3.4 cumulative grade-point average as a mechanical engineering major - an ambitious course load for an athlete who’s sport runs essentially from the time the athletes set foot on campus and runs to the beginning of April.
With the demands of both hockey and highly challenging academics, many students would find time for little else. Nill, however, has carved out a significant amount of time to give back to his campus and community in East Lansing. As if a demanding academic and athletic workload is not enough, he has been the hockey program’s representative to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for three years, and this year, he is serving as the group’s president. He is also the vice-president of the MSU chapter of Athletes In Action. Nill has volunteered his time to a wide-spanning list of community service initiatives undertaken by the team. He has never turned down a request to be involved in things like Relay for Life, Children’s Miracle Network, March is Reading Month, or programs for the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters chapter.
Nill is an extremely kind and compassionate young man, and there is no further evidence needed than his dedication to children in the local Lansing area. He has been actively involved in Spartan Buddies, visiting children in Sparrow Hospital’s pediatric ward. After the H1N1 flu virus put the Spartan Buddies visits to Sparrow into hiatus last fall, Trevor was the first one to start recruiting new volunteers – both from his team and other teams on campus - once the ban on volunteer visits was lifted. He attended the training sessions all over again with his recruits, and has developed deeper friendships with some of the longstanding “friends” the hockey program has generated through its involvement with young cancer patients being treated at Sparrow. He also is the annual leader during MSU Athletics’ “Teams for Toys” initiative, where the hockey team adopts a local needy family for the holidays. Nill puts in a lot of personal touches in shopping for the family - he feels it important to learn a little about the child he’s shopping for to ensure picking out gifts that he or she would enjoy.
Nill’s commitment to helping others began long before his enrollment at Michigan State. At 16, he and his friend, both with mothers who are cancer survivors, organized a “Bike Across Michigan” fundraiser to raise money for the fight against the disease. On his senior trip at Plymouth Christian Academy, Nill was among the volunteers on a mission which helped dig sanitation ditches in a remote village in Costa Rica. He volunteered for book drives, and worked at Christian Hockey Camps.
Nill is the third Spartan since 2006 to be a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian - Drew Miller, who started the Spartan Buddies program, was a finalist as a junior in 2006 and Jeff Lerg was a finalist in his senior season (2008-09). Both those individuals, as well as Justin Abdelkader (2009), won the CCHA Ilitch Humanitarian Award, for which Nill is a nominee both in 2010 and now in 2011.
Adrian College senior forward Sam Kuzyk is also one of the eight finalists.
A senior winger from Winnipeg and repeat Humanitarian finalist, Kuzyk is equal parts humanitarian and entrepreneur, in that most everything he has organized he started on his own and virtually from scratch. He has dedicated much of his time and effort to raise money and awareness for the local Hickman Cancer Center. He has also engaged in countless other activities, such as Salvation Army Family Sponsorships, a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Canada, and visits to local schools to read to students. Sam has been an MCHA All Academic Team member for three years running.
This year’s recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian will be introduced in an afternoon ceremony on Friday, April 8 at 5:30 CDT as part of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Brooks Dyroff, Boston College
Alex Higgins, St. Michaels College
Aleca Hughes, Yale University
Tucker Mullin, St. Anselm College
Whitney Pappas, Robert Morris University
Brigid O’Gorman, Connecticut College