GRAND RAPIDS -- The Griffins are proud to announce that goaltender Jimmy Howard has been named the team’s winner of the AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the West Michigan community during the 2007-08 season.
Howard’s most notable and recognizable effort is his Howard’s Heroes program, through which he purchases four season tickets and donates them to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. For every home game at Van Andel Arena, a hospital patient and his or her family are afforded the opportunity to watch the Griffins play before visiting the locker room afterwards to meet Howard and receive a personal locker room tour and autographs from the netminder and his teammates.
Despite spending more than a month with the NHL's Red Wings during five call-ups this season, Howard unselfishly gave a large portion of his limited free time to participate in a number of the Griffins’ community endeavors. He attended five youth hockey practices as part of the Growing With the Griffins program, made three visits to hospitalized patients and rang bells for the Salvation Army during the holiday season. In addition, he participated in several full-team functions, including The Great Skate and the Griffins versus Sled Wings sled hockey game.
In recognition of his efforts, Howard will be presented with an etched crystal trophy during an on-ice presentation prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.
Howard is now one of 29 finalists for the AHL’s 2007-08 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the AHL in the coming weeks.