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Kabanov Nominated for QMJHL Humanitarian Award

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
On Tuesday morning, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced their nominees for the 2011 Golden Puck Awards, and New York Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov was named one of three finalists for Humanitarian Player of the Year.

“Every team has to bring forward each individual player’s full credential of community work,” said Marcel Patenaude, Executive Vice President of the QMJHL regarding the Humanitarian Player of the Year award. “Upon review of the material, the committee has established three finalists. The winner will be announced at the Golden Puck Award Banquet to be held in Montréal on April 6.”

As a forward for the Lewiston MAINEiacs, Kabanov has gone above and beyond his call of duty in regards to community outreach this season. Since the Moscow, Russia native was acquired by the MAINEiacs earlier this season, he’s been thoroughly involved in the Lewiston community.

Kirill Kabanov of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, skates against the Moncton Wildcats on November 26, 2010. Click photo to view photo gallery. (Photos by: Ron Morin, Lewiston Maineiacs)
“Me and the other Russian who is playing on my team, Andrey Makarov, the goalie, we're doing a lot of community stuff,” Kabanov said. “We're going to children’s schools; we're going to high schools. We want our fans to come to games and the guys on our team do a lot of that (community events). The team is earning respect by doing that.”

The 18-year-old has a big personality. He’s outgoing, and can be engaging in all five languages he speaks.

Nonetheless, he’s extremely proud to be named as one of the finalists.

“Being nominated for this award is a great honor for me, for my team and for the organization,” Kabanov said. “In some ways, it means that I changed a little bit, that I grew up a little bit. I’m glad that I can help make the fans happier.”

Patenaude said that Kabanov exemplified everything the Humanitarian award represents.

“For us, the most important thing is the player’s work throughout the community,” Patenaude said. “I think Kirill (Kabanov), in that situation, did an incredible job in Lewiston. The team forwarded a full document to us, explaining his work in the city of Lewiston.”

In one example of his outreach in the Lewiston community, Kabanov decided that he wouldn’t just sit on the sidelines while he was healing from an upper body injury. Instead, he decided he wanted to greet fans as they arrived at the arena for that night’s game, shaking hands and signing autographs.

“Kirill (Kabanov) did a tremendous job visiting blood donor clinics, several schools, Veterans at the American Legions, attending youth clubs at church’s and he even took the time to read to seniors,” Patenaude said. “He did a great job making sure that people around Lewiston knew about the team.”

Other nominees for the Humanitarian Player of the Year award are Alex Emond, of the Rimouski Oceanic, and Gabriel Lemieux, of the Shawinigan Cataractes.

Kabanov is truly happy to be part of the MAINEiacs family. He said he’s not only grown as an athlete, but also as a person.

“Lewiston is a pretty nice city,” Kabanov said. “It's really small. Smaller than Moncton, but it's a really nice place. The people are really nice. It's a nice place for a young hockey player to prove himself better than in Moncton. Things worked out here for me pretty well.”
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