skip navigation

USA Hockey Announces 2024 Annual Award Winners

By USA Hockey, 05/29/24, 10:00AM MDT


12 Standouts From the Hockey Community Honored

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey will honor 12 deserving individuals at its President’s Awards Dinner on Friday, June 7, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center as part of its four-day Annual Meeting that begins on June 5.

Honorees include Amy Lowe (Westford, Mass.) with the Wm. Thayer Tutt Award and Bill Beaney (Cornwall, Vt.) with the Distinguished Achievement Award.

Other award winners include, Dr. Alan Ashare Excellence in Safety Award honoree Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), Chet Stewart Award recipient Mark Sampson (Longmeadow, Mass.), John Beadle Adult Member of the Year Tom Hancock (Clovis, Calif.) and the late Jim Clare (Weymouth, Mass.) with the Walter Yaciuk Award. 

Annual Award Winners

Player of the year honorees include Adult Player of the Year John Koufis (Palatine, Ill.), Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Laila Edwards (Cleveland, Ohio), Jim Johannson College Player of the Year Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year Hampton Slukynsky (Warroad, Minn.), Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Mac Swanson (Anchorage, Alaska) and the Disabled Athlete of the Year, Rylynn Zanon (Lake Elmo, Minn.). 

In addition, USA Hockey will also honor a number of individuals with service awards during the President’s Awards Dinner and for the full list, click HERE.

Wm. Thayer Tutt Award - Amy Lowe

Amy Lowe’s philosophy on success is simple, it’s never about the wins or losses, but about growing the game and encouraging as many hockey players possible to lace up the skates. Her selfless dedication to enhancing hockey at the grassroots level in both the Massachusetts area, and across the country has left an indelible mark on the sport. 

A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts. Lowe has spent the better part of two decades laying the foundation of youth hockey in her hometown program of Nashoba Youth Hockey. She served 20 years as a board member of Nashoba Youth Hockey, and was also the director of initiation programs for the association from 2006 to 2023. 

She helped establish the association’s first girls’ hockey program in 2005 and became the director of girls’ hockey during the 2007-08 season, a role she held until 2023. Lowe dedicated her time to growing the girls game over the years and ensuring the rink is a welcoming place for all who come to play. 

In 2015, Lowe forged a partnership between Nashoba Youth Hockey and the Boston Bruins Academy to advance development programs in the organization. She spearheaded growth relationships with the Bruins to help expand Nashoba’s Learn to Play and Learn to Skate programs and was awarded the Mike Cheever “Grow Hockey” grant for Nashoba Youth Hockey in 2018.

Lowe comes from a hockey family and started playing hockey as a child after her mother helped start the Stoneham Girls Hockey program, giving both Lowe and her older sister a team to play for. As a teen, Lowe began coaching and officiating, working with local youth and girls leagues. 

Lowe attended Harvard University where she played four seasons for the Crimson NCAA Division I women’s hockey team. Lowe graduated with a degree in English and later became a teacher at New Hampton School in New Hampshire where she also served as head coach of their girls hockey team and continued playing hockey in adult leagues during her free time.

Distinguished Achievement Award - Bill Beaney

Bill Beaney’s profound impact on college hockey has cemented the legendary coach in the lore of hockey greats. He spent over 30 years behind the bench, including 28 years at Middlebury College and seven seasons at New England College. An influential coach, Beaney not only made his mark on the ice, but helped shape the modern hockey landscape across the country.

During his tenure at Middlebury, Beaney led the Panthers to eight national championship titles, including five-straight from 1995 to 1999. The team also won eight NESCAC titles between 2000 and 2010, with the program doubling up on both a conference championship and national championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Thirty-nine players received All-America honors under Beaney’s tutelage, as the Lake Placid, N.Y., native helped amass 516 wins at Middlebury.

Beaney began his coaching career following graduation from the University of New Hampshire in 1973. He headed up the program at Bellows Free Academy in Vermont, leading the school to three-straight state titles before jumping to the college ranks with New England College in 1978. 

At the collegiate level, both at Middlebury and New England College, Beaney recorded a 602-260-59 record, an impressive .696 win percentage, and retired in 2015 as the winningest coach in NCAA Division III men’s hockey. He also led the Middlebury men’s golf team and served as an adjunct professor until his retirement in 2023.

Inducted into both the Lake Placid Hall of Fame in 2009 and Vermont Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, Beaney is a four-time Edward Jeremiah Award recipient, given to the top men’s hockey coach in Division III. 

One of the pioneers of small-area games, Beaney’s coaching philosophy has transcended the sport and helped change the way the game is taught in the United States. His history with USA Hockey spans over 40 years, as Beaney was active in developing curriculum for coaching clinics and has presented his philosophies internationally over the years. 

Internationally, Beaney was an assistant coach for the 1994 U.S. National Junior Team and was named USA Hockey Coach of the Year in 1999. 

Beaney attended the University of New Hampshire and skated four seasons for its men’s hockey team, serving as the captain his senior year during the 1972-73 season. 

Dr. Alan Ashare Excellence In Safety Award - Dr. Mike Uihlein

Dr. Mike Uihlein has spent over a decade serving the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team as the team physician. Uihlein, who is widely regarded as one of the top authorities on adaptative sports medicine, plays an integral role in ensuring USA Hockey athletes receive the highest quality medical care and support.   

The Grafton, Wisconsin, native has served Team USA at three consecutive Paralympic Games, helping support the U.S. to three gold medals in 2014, 2018 and 2022. Uihlein has also served on the staff at eight World Para Ice Hockey Championships, including most recently in Calgary, Alberta for the 2024 World Para Ice Hockey Championship in May. 

Uihlein is actively involved in research to advance the knowledge of sled hockey and the care of adaptive athletes across all disciplines. He helped implement the concussion management program for wheelchair athletes at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and a co-editor of the book Concussion Management of Wheelchair Athletes, Evaluations and Examination in addition to other publications on adaptive sports. 

Following Uihlein’s graduation from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2000, he completed an emergency medicine residency and worked as a full-time emergency room doctor in both Wisconsin and Hawaii, until 2015 when he returned to the Medical College of Wisconsin for a sports medicine fellowship. 

When not with Team USA, Uihlein holds the associate chief of emergency medicine for education and co-director of the adaptive sports medicine clinic at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and serves as an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  

Chet Stewart Award - Mark Sampson

Mark Sampson’s impact on officiating in New England has been felt for nearly five decades. A leader in the state of Massachusetts, Sampson has been active in the hockey community as a player, coach, official, supervisor, instructor and mentor, leaving his mark on the sport at nearly every level.  

An official himself since 1973, Sampson officiated for 44 seasons, including everything from youth games to juniors to college hockey and beyond. 

The Longmeadow, Massachusetts, native patrolled the ice at all levels, wearing the stripes at the USA Hockey National Championships in 1993, 1994, 1997, 2003, and 2010 while serving as the supervisor of officials at the 2018 USA Hockey Girls National Championship. He also officiated NCAA Division I & III men’s hockey and NCAA Division III women’s hockey.

Sampson served as the district supervisor for the sixth district of Massachusetts Hockey for 29 years where he worked with local officials on development opportunities within the state and dedicated much of his time to recruiting and mentoring new officials in the area. He also spent a decade as the assigner for the Interstate Junior Hockey League.

For his efforts, Sampson was honored with the Massachusetts Hockey Milt Kaufman Award in 2001, earned the Al Pinciak Award in the 2005-2006 season and was recognized with the Golden Stripes Award in 2010. 

A staunch advocate for development, Sampson has been a key instructor at USA Hockey officiating seminars and led all on-ice instruction as part of USA Hockey’s officials certification process. 

Sampson served as the head of the officiating evaluation program for the state of Massachusetts and continues to foster a development pipeline for officials at all levels. 

John Beadle Adult Member of the Year - Tom Hancock

Tom Hancock exemplifies what dedication and leadership looks like in the adult hockey community throughout the state of California. 

As the president of the California Amateur Hockey Association, Hancock has advocated for the advancement of adult hockey in the Golden State and has shown a proven commitment to growing the game at all levels.

An active member of USA Hockey’s Adult Council, the Clovis, California, native has proactively engaged adult players and teams across the state resulting in the exponential growth of CAHA’s adult leagues. 

Amongst his most successful and innovative initiatives has been the resurgence of the annual CAHA Adult Hockey State Tournament, which has seen unprecedented success in the years since the pandemic. From inception to puck drop Hancock has spearheaded remarkable participation levels from teams around the state. In light of the event’s success, CAHA was able to start to organize two tournaments in the state each season, one for northern California and one for southern California, both in partnership with the area’s local NHL team. 

To keep pace with the increased level of adult participation throughout the state, Hancock helped implement beneficial oversight that assists teams and leagues around the state to compete at a standard that is consistent at every level. 

A staunch advocate for all facets of hockey, Hancock has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the continued growth of the sport and ensuring playing opportunities for all who want to lace up the skates across California. 

Walter Yaciuk Award - Jim Clare

Jim Clare was involved in youth hockey and coaching education both in  Illinois and at the national level for over 25 years. 

A native of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Clare played youth hockey in the Boston area before going on to play NCAA Division I hockey at West Point. He spent seven years as a captain in the Army before retiring in 1994. 

Clare moved to Illinois and shortly after began his involvement with Amateur Hockey Association Illinois (AHAI) in 1998 when his oldest son started playing youth hockey.

Clare coached every level from 6U to 14U for Sabre Hockey Association in Naperville, Illinois, as his three sons progressed through the program. He also coached the Sabres’ girls 19U team for five years. From 2003-16, Clare served on the Sabres’ board of directors, including a ten-year stint as the club’s president from 2006-16.

In 2010, Clare joined the AHAI board of directors, where he served as vice president of membership. During his time there, Clare was part of nearly every AHAI committee over the years, including Try Hockey for Free, the suspension/review committee, and the A Step Ahead concussion prevention committee, among others. 

Clare’s dedication to inclusion and growing the game was evident throughout his career. He also organized coaching clinics specifically for coaches in the disabled hockey section and played a role in the growth of the AHAI special hockey program.  

On the national level, he was a USA Hockey coaching education program instructor for nearly a decade and for three years from 2016 to 2019, ran in-person coaching clinics in Illinois. When clinics went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, Clare ran online seminars up until his final season in 2023. 

On September 23, 2023, Clare passed away at age 58 after a courageous battle with cancer. He left a legacy and profound impact on American hockey through his education of thousands of players and coaches that will be felt for many years to come, 

Adult Player of the Year - John Koufis

For John Koufis, hockey has been a life-long passion. A mainstay on the adult hockey scene, Koufis has played an integral role in the growth of the game in the Chicago area.

Koufis has laced up the skates for the Chicago Sharks adult hockey team, skating with the Sharks in USA Hockey’s Adult National Championships for a number of years, including during the 2024 tournament, where the Sharks, led by Koufis, took home the 50+ Tier 1 Championship.

In addition to playing, Koufis helps manage the Sharks program, recruiting players and organizing teams to compete not only locally, but nationally as well. 

Koufis represented Greece in five IIHF Division III Men’s World Championships and two IIHF Division III Men’s World Championship Qualifiers, winning a silver in 2010. Most recently, he also served as the general manager for Team Greece for the 2024 IIHF Development Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Prior to the 2023-24 season, Koufis, who is the majority investor in the Tomahawks Hockey Partners, LLC investor group, purchased the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL. He currently serves as the CEO and governor of the Tomahawks. 

A 1987 graduate of DePaul University with a degree in accounting, Koufis also serves as the chief financial officer at General Kinematics Vibrating Equipment. 

Bob Allen Women's Player of the Year - Laila Edwards

Laila Edwards etched her name in the hockey history books this season becoming the youngest American skater to be named MVP at an IIHF Women’s World Championship. The Cleveland, Ohio, native earned the honor after posting a tournament-leading six-goal performance at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, helping to anchor the U.S. to its 23rd-straight medal in the event. 

Edwards, who became the first Black woman to skate for the U.S. Women’s National Team at an international event, recorded eight points, the third highest point total at the tournament. She notched her first career goal during the team’s preliminary round game against Czechia and also posted her first career hat trick during a 5-0 semifinal victory against Finland. 

She shined in the gold medal game, recording a team-leading two points, including the first U.S. goal midway through the opening period. In addition to earning tournament MVP honors, she was also voted to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team. 

As a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin during the 2023-24 season, Edwards recorded 56 points (21G, 35A), skating in all 41 of the Badgers’ games. 

The forward earned Third Team All-WCHA honors, recording four points (2G, 2A) in the WCHA Final Faceoff championship game and a goal and assist in the national semifinal game against Colgate, propelling Wisconsin to an NCAA Frozen Four championship game appearance. 

Edwards also represented Team USA during the 2023-24 Rivalry Series, making her U.S. Women’s National Team debut in a 5-2 victory over Canada at Arena in Los Angeles in game two of the series. 

Jim Johannson College Player of the Year - Cutter Gauthier

A sophomore forward, Cutter Gauthier was a standout at Boston College during the 2023-24 college hockey season. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native helped lead the Eagles to both the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championship, and propelled BC to its first national championship game appearance since 2012.

Gauthier led the nation in scoring with 38 goals, including a chart-topping 10 game-winners, and ranked second nationally with 65 points. His 13 power-play goals ranked second nationally, as he tallied an impressive 1.59 points per game. 

Gauthier, who signed an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks following the college season in April, was named an AHCA Division I First Team All-American as well as earning All-Hockey East First Team honors.

Gauthier’s goal-scoring ability and dominance made him a Hobey Baker Memorial Award Hat Trick Finalist and a Hockey East Player of the Year Finalist. He also received the Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. 

On the international stage, Gauthier helped Team USA to a gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. The alternate captain tallied the game-winning goal late in the third period in the U.S.’ 3-2 semifinal victory against Finland. He registered a tournament-leading 12 points and earned the Directorate Award for Best Forward, as well as a nod on the Media All-Star Team. His 10 assists were the third-most by an American in a single World Junior Championship.   

Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year - Hampton Slukynsky

Hampton Slukynsky backstopped the Fargo Force to a historic season in 2023-24. The netminder helped his team to a record-breaking 50-10-2 (W-L-OTL) regular season, setting a new mark for most single-season team wins in USHL history, before leading Fargo to its second Clark Cup title. 

The netminder finished the USHL regular season with a 28-3-0 (W-L-OTL) record in 33 games played. His 28 wins and five shutouts each led the league. He also paced all USHL goaltenders by a considerable margin with a 1.86 goals-against average and 0.923 save percentage. He was named USHL Goaltender of the Year and earned First Team All-USHL honors. 

The Warroad, Minnesota, native was a postseason workhorse for Fargo, as he started all 12 games during the team’s Clark Cup playoffs run, posting 9-3-0 (W-L-OTL) record. His 1.69 goals-against average in the playoffs tied for the league lead, and his 0.931 save percentage ranked fourth. 

On the international stage, Slukynsky helped the 2023 U.S. Junior Select Team to a third-place finish at the 2023 World Junior A Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia, in December. He started five games for Team USA, compiling a 4-0-1-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L record. He posted a 2.99 goals-against average, which ranked second-best in the tournament, and a 0.872 save percentage. 

Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year - Mac Swanson

Mac Swanson was at the center of a historic season for the Fargo Force in 2023-24. The forward helped his team to a record-breaking 50-10-2 (W-OTW-OTL) regular season record, setting a new mark for most USHL single-season wins, before leading Fargo to its second Clark Cup title. 

The forward led all USHL skaters with 51 assists and ranked third in the league with 77 points in 55 games played. Swanson’s stellar performance earned him USHL Player of the Year honors, and he was also named USHL Forward of the Year and a USHL First Team All-American.  

The Anchorage, Alaska, native’s success continued into the postseason, where he paced all skaters in goals (5), assists (12), and points (17) and was named the USHL Clark Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player after leading Fargo to a Clark Cup championship. 

On the international stage, Swanson appeared on the 2023 U.S. Junior Select Team that finished third at the 2023 World Junior A Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia, in December. He led all skaters at the tournament with nine assists, and tied for a Team USA lead with 11 points in six games. He also was selected to participate at the 2024 Chipotle All-American Game in January. 

Disabled Athlete of the Year - Rylynn Zanon

At 19, what Rylynn Zanon has already been able to accomplish in her life is nothing short of incredible.

A college student studying special education and early childhood education, Zanon was born with several mild disabilities affecting her physical and cognitive development. Despite this, she is a fully functioning young adult, although there are certain things she will never be able to do, like drive a car or live fully independently. 

As a child, the Zanon family moved to several times around the country, which often made it challenging for Zanon to lay roots in her new community. In 2015, when she was in fifth grade, the Zanon family made the move to Minnesota, where Rylynn flourished.

Growing up in a hockey family, Zanon was a rink rat from a very young age, watching her her dad, sister, and brother play, but in 2016 she was presented with a new opportunity through Minnesota Special Hockey – to take the ice herself. 

Through the opportunity with Minnesota Special Hockey, Zanon thrived in her new community, making new friends, learning leadership skills and witnessing the power of inclusion firsthand. The skills she learned on the ice have propelled her to new heights both on and off the ice. 

She served as a four-year captain of her school’s adapted floor hockey team and a three-year captain of her school’s adapted soccer team, leading both squads to state titles in 2021-22, and a repeat title with the floor hockey team in 2022-23. 

She went on to be the co-president of the TRUST Club, an all-inclusive after-school club in her high school that brings students with and without disabilities together. 

In addition, Zanon is a three-year member of the Minnesota Special Olympics Student Board of Directors and serves as co-Vice President. She currently serves as a Special Olympics U.S. Youth Ambassador, where she helps to create inclusive opportunities for kids through sports, helping them build important life skills in ways that hockey helped her. 

Recent News