During a ceremony held prior to the Nashville Predators' December 8 home game against the New York Rangers, the Predators organization announced that Andrew Washburn and Susan Burdorf had been named Youth Hockey Player of the Month and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for December. Predators captain Greg Johnson was on hand to present Washburn and Burdorf with plaques recognizing their efforts. The two were nominated and selected as part of a new program created by the Predators that will regularly recognize a player and volunteer in the Nashville area who demonstrate character skills that make youth hockey a better experience for all involved.
Washburn, December Player of the Month, is 8, and plays center for the La Vergne 8-and-under team, which is part of the Youth Incorporated Inline Hockey League. Washburn is relatively new to the sport of hockey, first playing organized hockey in March of 2005. According to his coach Glenn Thompson, "Some kids are said to have an 'epiphany': that is the moment a young player 'gets' the game. Washburn experienced his about two minutes into his first game and continued to display tremendous effort and determination in learning the game and developing his skills and skating." Due to his hard work and dedication to the game, Washburn became a critical part of last season's undefeated championship team. By the end of the spring season, he had established himself as a hard-working, position player and earned a spot on the Tennessee State Inline All-Star Team for his age group at State Wars.
Washburn continued working on his skating during the summer and this fall is playing both inline and ice hockey for the Youth Incorporated La Vergne 8-and-under and 10-and-under inline hockey teams and the Nashville Youth Hockey League's (NYHL) Avs Mites Ice Hockey team. He continues to develop his game and can often be found in his garage working on his shooting, skating, or passing. Despite this hectic hockey schedule, school is a priority for this 8-year-old. This fall, Washburn made the Principal's Honor list.
Washburn's love for hockey and passion for developing his game has allowed him to work his way up from a rookie player last spring to a significant contributor and respected leader among his teammates. Washburn was nominated by family friend and coach, Glenn Thompson. While there are many good hockey players around, few can compete with Washburn's blend of dedication, leadership, unselfishness, and respect—as a result, the Nashville Predators have recognized him as the December Youth Hockey Player of the Month!
The Nashville Predators are also proud to have named Susan Burdorf as the December Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month. Burdorf, described by some members of her leagues as the ultimate volunteer, has been crucial to the success of multiple programs. She is the co-coach of the Termite Tigers of the NYHL and team manager for the Lady Ice Tigers 19U team; additionally, she is also the treasurer for the Nashville Women's Ice Hockey League (NWIHL). Burdorf volunteered a substantial amount of time to these organizations and the production of the NYHL initiative "Put the Biscuit in the Net," a program that teaches Girl Scouts how to play hockey.
When coaching her NYHL Termite (age 4-6) team, Burdorf inspires her players by maintaining a positive, encouraging attitude toward her young impressionable team. She encourages her players to play their own personal best and is a constant model of positive coaching for her peers. In addition to coaching her Termite team and managing the Lady Ice Tigers 19U team, Burdorf also helps out her local women's league (NWIHL) by offering a craft time for the kids of the hockey-playing moms.
As evidenced by the vast amount of time and effort she puts into the Nashville hockey community, Burdorf is truly an invaluable volunteer for youth hockey. Burdorf was nominated for her tremendous efforts in bettering the Nashville hockey community by her friend and fellow volunteer, Christina Scholer.
Ultimately it is Burdorf's constant effort and drive to help that have made her such a positive asset for the youth hockey community. She does not limit herself to one label as a volunteer; instead she is a coach, a mentor, a role model, a crafts teacher, and a team manager. For these efforts, the Nashville Predators have recognized her as the December Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month!
For more information on the local hockey recognition program, or to nominate someone who is making a difference in a Nashville area youth hockey community, visit the Local Hockey Recognition Page.