Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Jake Taylor
was honored with the United States Hockey League's Curt Hammer Award, which is presented annually to the player who best reflects the goals of the USHL, his team and his organization.
Taylor, who was selected by the Rangers in the sixth round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and posted 16 points and 160 penalty minutes in 60 games this past season, was recognized for his tireless and willing involvement in so many charitable and community service projects.
"Jake has taken community service and volunteer work to a new level," noted Green Bay head coach Mark Osiecki. "We conservatively estimate he has put in 150 hours of community service this past season. Jakes takes the initiative and does many things on his own without telling anyone."
Taylor's charitable roots are traced to his mother, who took him along on once-a-month trips to cook and serve meals at a Rochester, Minnesota homeless center from the time he was young.
Taylor said his activities were simply a case of making good use of his time. In his first year out of high school, he attended classes in the fall, but had a lot of free time in the second semester.
"My schedule was real open," Taylor said. "Anytime I saw something up on the board, I'd grab it. This is definitely a great honor for me."
The 6-4, 203-pound blueliner, who will join the two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fall, also participated in many other off-ice activities, including: helping coach the Junior Gamblers youth hockey team 1-2 nights per week; reading to elementary school students; serving school lunches; working Special Olympics bowling and basketball tournaments; and serving as a guest DJ to help raise money in a telethon for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.Information courtesy of USAHockey.com