On Monday, the Blackhawk Alumni Association hosted their 33rd annual Keith Magnuson Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship Luncheon at the United Center, honoring some of the state's top high school hockey players and awarding a trio of scholarships to high school seniors headed to college in the Fall.
Andrew Capuano (St. Rita), Evan Wurzbacher (Hersey) and Olivia Turman (Lake Park) each were awarded scholarships as the most deserving Illinois high school hockey applicants - determined from a candidate's academic achievements, community & volunteer service, financial stability, character and leadership. Each will receive an annual $7,500 scholarship for four years of college tuition.
As part of the celebration, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was named the Alumni's Blackhawk of the Year - the first time the longtime captain has taken home the award. He joins the likes of Denis Savard (1988), Doug Wilson (1989), Chris Chelios (1995) and Keith Magnuson (2004), along with teammates Patrick Kane (2010, 2014, 2015, 2019), Duncan Keith (2008), Corey Crawford (2016) and Alex DeBrincat (2018) to be named Blackhawk of the Year.
"To meet you guys and get to know you guys and get to know more about your careers, you understand how special it is to being wearing that crest and be playing for this team every single day," Toews said of his relationship with the Alumni Association.
He also congratulated the scholarship recipients on their achievements, both on and off the ice.
"A big congratulations to the recipients," Toews added. "We as players try to be model citizens and be examples for each other and for other people. You guys are doing that every step of the way, so (I) wish you guys all the best."
Brent Seabrook won the Chief Blackhawk award for assisting the Alumni Association in their overall efforts - a title Toews was awarded at last year's luncheon.
Jack Weinberg, AHAI High School Chairman, won the "Gunzo" Award, given annually to a member of the hockey community who has unselfishly given of himself to support the vision of the Blackhawk Alumni, that of players helping players.
Glenbrook North head coach Evan Poulakidas was named the Billy Reay Coach of the Year.
Blackhawk of the Year:
2020 Scholarship Winners:
Andrew Capuano (St. Rita)
Evan Wurzbacher (Hersey)
Olivia Turman (Lake Park)
Coach of the Year:
Evan Poulakidas (Evan Poulakidas (Glenbrook North))
Blackhawk Alumni Boys All-Star Team:
F: Matt Dahlke (Glenbrook North)
F: Jack Jones (Barrington)
F: Zach Stafiej (Carmel Catholic)
D: Brian Dolby (New Trier Green)
D: Evan Izenstark (Glenbrook North/Oak Park River)
G: William DeCaro (Forest)
Blackhawk Alumni Girls All-Star Team:
F: Kelly Gorbatenko (Barrington)
F: Jayna Park (Loyola Academy)
F: Elaina Kaiser (Fenwick)
D: Claire VanDamme (New Trier)
D: Abby Benjamin (Stevenson)
G: Ashley Ommen (Naper Valley)