Van Guilder Named IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year
The Milwaukee Admirals are proud to announce that Mark Van Guilder has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Milwaukee community during the 2013-14 season.
After winning the Admirals Man of the Year award the past three seasons, Van Guilder was looking to become even more involved in the Milwaukee community. Van Guilder reached nearly 4,500 kids in the area this season, making 21 school visits to do everything from reading to the kindergarten kids or playing floor hockey at school assemblies.
However, it was his faith that inspired Van Guilder to visit many Catholic schools all over southeast Wisconsin to share with the kids his inspiring message about his faith journey and how he lives his life as a Catholic professional athlete. Much of the message was focused on how the kids don’t need to be afraid or embarrassed to be Catholic and on the flip side they don’t need to be proselytizing their friends, either. Just like there is a right way and a wrong way to play hockey, Mark stressed to the kids how there is a right way and wrong way to live your life and your faith and if you do it the right way others will follow you. Mark’s talks also touched on bullying and the different ways to stand up to a bully without having to directly confront him/her, the importance of hard work in reaching goals, and the role that his family played in his life while growing up and still does today.
His service to the community was certainly not limited to schools. Mark donated his culinary talents to a silent auction for Prevent Blindness of Wisconsin where the winning bidder was served a dinner prepared by Mark and some of his teammates. The dinner ended up going for over $3,000!
In addition, before the season started Mark served as the honorary chairman for the annual Catholic Charities Golf Outing and gave a presentation to all of the participants about his faith journey. He also helped to deliver turkeys to needy families at Thanksgiving, visited sick kids at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and was one of the top tip earners at the team’s annual Celebrity Serve event, the team’s top fundraiser of the year.
Mark Van Guilder is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2013-14 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/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 American Hockey League later this month.