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Humanitarian and Lowe's Awards finalists named

by Bob Snow
The final five for college hockey's 2012 Humanitarian Award and the 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award were recently announced.

From a field of 23 candidates, the 2012 recipient of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award will be introduced at a ceremony on Friday, April 6, before the Hobey Baker Award announcement that goes to college hockey's best player for 2011-2012.

Here's the field of Humanitarian finalists, honored as college hockey's finest citizens on and off the ice:

Shawn Baker, Senior Defenseman, Norwich University
From Mont-Laurier, Quebec, Baker is the Cadets' captain, and a member of the Northfield, Vermont, Volunteer Fire Department for the last four years. In that capacity, he was one of the first responders this past fall when the area was devastated by the aftereffects of Hurricane Irene. He took an active role in helping rebuild neighborhoods, and spent countless hours helping families restore their homes and lives. He is also active in the community, helping area youths with birthday parties, skating clinics and other events.

Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalists

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on either the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website or the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 18. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I men's ice hockey head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner during the Frozen Four.
The Lowe's finalists:
Chad Billins, D, Ferris State
Jack Connolly, C, Minnesota-Duluth
Sean Duddy, D, Ohio State
Ryan Flanigan, F, Merrimack
Scott Greenham, G, Alaska-Fairbanks
Sean Lorenz, D, Notre Dame
Jack Maclellan, F, Brown
Cody Reichard, G, Miami (Ohio)
Keir Ross, D, Cornell
Paul Weisgarber, F, Air Force
Aleca Hughes, Senior Forward, Yale University
A repeat finalist and senior team captain from Westwood, MA, Hughes is the founder of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, so named and organized to honor the memory of former teammate Mandi Schwartz, who passed away in April of 2011, after a nearly three-year battle with leukemia. Aleca and her teammates organized three record-setting marrow donor drives to help Mandi, and to add more than 2,500 names to the National Marrow Donor Program's Be The Match registry. She also organized two "White Outs For Mandi," which raised more than $40,000 for Schwartz and her family as well as cancer research. Hughes has also spearheaded many other charitable initiatives, including the Bulldog Buddies program, which has connected Yale athletic teams with young brain tumor patients.

Kevin McNamara, Senior Defenseman, Colgate University
In April 2011, McNamara, a senior co-captain from Chestnut Hill, MA, started his own charitable organization called "Goals For Good," which provides a vehicle whereby people can donate to the non-profit organization of their choice through collegiate hockey. Created as a friendly competition, collegiate clubs can tally their donations by goal, by win, or by weekend if they choose, and at the end of each week teams are put into standings based on the amount of money raised. He has connected every ECAC team to a partnering charity, and has obtained three major sponsors for the initiative. McNamara is also deeply involved in area food and toy drives, an initiative initially started by former Raider teammate and 2010 Hockey Humanitarian Award recipient Ethan Cox.

Tucker Mullin, Junior Forward, St. Anselm College
A repeat finalist and junior co-captain from Andover, MA, Mullin is the co-founder of the Thomas E. Smith Fight to Cure Paralysis Foundation, which gives emotional and financial support to those affected by and living with paralysis. The foundation gives monetary grants to individuals for medical expenses, equipment, physical therapy, nursing care and many other things not covered by insurance. Through a series of events Mullin and the foundation have already raised well over $50,000. Mullin is also a student ambassador for Team Impact, a New England-based non-profit serving and supporting kids facing life-threatening diseases.

Cody Reichard, Senior Goaltender, Miami University (Ohio)
A repeat nominee from Celina, OH, Reichard founded "Swoop's Stoop," a program to provide life-enriching experiences to area kids facing life-changing illnesses. The program works by bringing a sick child from Cincinnati's Children's Hospital to a Miami home game, where they receive game tickets, a T-shirt, a bracelet and free food and drink. In addition, Reichard, Swoop (Miami's RedHawk mascot) and several Miami teammates visit Children's Hospital on a monthly basis to play and interact with sick children. This year, Reichard successfully brought in a corporate sponsor (Step Resources) and raised more than $11,000 to further help the Swoop's Stoop cause. Reichard is also involved with several other team charities.

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