The Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award was created to reward youth hockey players or mentors for their leadership and contributions to youth sports or education. More than 70 nominations were received for the award from across the United States and Canada.
Barnett founded the Shamrock Hockey club in Amherst, which focuses on education, teamwork, community service and, most importantly, having fun. The players are required to keep good grades, play as a team and give back to the community. Through Barnett's leadership, the Shamrocks created a unique partnership with the Buffalo Zoo, where players volunteer to work in the garden to produce edible plants for the animals. The program beautifies the zoo, feeds the animals and teaches the players valuable life lessons about the importance of giving back.
"We had so many impressive nominations for the award that it was difficult to choose a winner," Messier said. "Coach Barnett really embodies the things that youth hockey should be about. He's really an educator on skates who's not only teaching young players how be better players and teammates, he's teaching them to be leaders both on and off the ice. He's a very deserving recipient of the award."
"I'm surprised, I'm humbled and I'm very honored to be receiving this award. I greatly admire the leadership and accomplishments of Mark Messier so winning this award is especially gratifying. It's really a testament to all of the volunteers and parents who have worked together to make Shamrock Hockey a great experience for the kids -- that's what it's all about."
-- Tom Barnett
"This award was created to reward people like Tom, whose leadership has enriched the lives of hundreds of young athletes and improved the quality of in his hometown," said Phil Pacsi, Vice President of North America Consumer Tire Marketing, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC. "At Bridgestone Americas we have a strong commitment to community service so we're very pleased to be able to partner with Mark and the NHL to encourage leadership in youth sports with a focus on volunteerism and education."
To nominate a player, coach or volunteer for the 2010 Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award, please visit www.bridgestonetire.com/messier.
Bridgestone also serves as title sponsor of the Mark Messier Leadership Award Presented by Bridgestone, which recognizes an NHL player as a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. The award honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes. Previous winners of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone are Chris Chelios of Detroit (2006-07), Mats Sundin of Toronto (2007-08) and Jarome Iginla of Calgary (2008-09).
Voting for the 2009-10 Mark Messier Leadership Award is currently underway. Click here to cast your vote on who you think Mark Messier should select as this year's recipient. The 2010 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone will be presented at the 2010 NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.