USA Hockey will host its 2016 Annual Congress from June 8-11 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The four-day event provides USA Hockey’s various councils, committees and affiliates the opportunity to conduct the business of the national governing body and celebrate accomplishment.
USA Hockey will honor its service award recipients and various other players of the year on June 8 at its annual Night of Tribute Awards Dinner, while the other top awards will be presented during the President’s Awards Dinner on June 10.
Wednesday’s award recipients include Adult Player of the Year Jim Westby (Roseville, Minn.), Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Monique Lamoureux-Morando (Grand Forks, N.D.), Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Rem Pitlick (Plymouth, Minn.), Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Hunter Miska (North Branch, Minn.), College Player of the Year Kyle Connor (Shelby Township, Mich.) and Disabled Athlete of the Year Sarah Bettencourt (San Diego, Calif.).
Honorees for The President’s Awards Dinner on June 10 include Excellence in Safety Award recipient Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth (Elmhurst, Ill.), Chet Stewart Award winner Pat Bush (Raleigh, N.C.), Adult Member of the Year Shelley Looney (Buffalo, N.Y.), Walter Yaciuk Award recipient Dr. Chip Burke (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Bob Johnson Award winner Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Distinguished Achievement Award recipient Jerry York (Watertown, Mass.) and William Thayer Tutt Award winner Phil Zona (Milton, Mass.). The dinner will also honor 2014-16 Brian Fishman Intern Jasmine Grotto (Alpena, Mich.) and 2015-16 Brendan Burke Intern Lyle Gregory (Branford, Conn.)
A U.S. Olympian and former college hockey player, Jim Westby is now a player, coach and general manager of the Minnesota Old Timers, an adult hockey team in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 1987, a team called the Minnesota Madness started playing in a California adult hockey tournament, and that squad eventually led to a spin-off team, the Minnesota Old Timers, in 2002. Since then, Westby and the Old Timers have regularly competed in adult tournaments around the country. They’ve played at USA Hockey’s Adult National Championships every year since 2007, winning six out of 10 national titles despite competing in a younger age bracket for the majority of those years. The team currently competes in the 70+ age bracket. Westby and his team meet year-round for regular ice sessions, skating twice a week during the spring and summer and three times a week in the fall and winter. In his role, Westby handles scheduling and finances, as well as ensuring the team has a full complement of players available for games and practice scrimmages. Westby spent four seasons playing hockey at the University of Minnesota (1955-57, 1961-63) and in that span, played on two U.S. Men’s National Teams (1959, 1961) at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship and one U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team (1964). As a high schooler in 1955, Westby also scored a widely known state title-clinching goal in an 11-overtime championship game.
The Adult Player of the Year Award, presented by Labatt Blue, is presented annually to an individual who performed exceptionally during the past year as a member of a U.S. adult hockey team or as a participant at an adult hockey event in the United States.
Monique Lamoureux-Morando helped guide the U.S. Women’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship and a first-place finish at the 2015 Four Nations Cup this season. She served as an alternate captain at both events, and provided a veteran leadership presence having participated in 22 events with Team USA spanning 10 years, including two Olympic Winter Games (2010, 2014). At the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia, this spring, Lamoureux-Morando was named one of the top 3 players of the tournament for the U.S. and a media all-star team member after leading all tournament defensemen with seven points and five assists in five games. At the 2015 Four Nations Cup in November, Lamoureux-Morando led all tournament defensemen in every offensive category with two goals and four assists in four games and was named the best defenseman of the tournament. In the first of two games against rival Canada in the tournament, Lamoureux-Morando scored the game-winning goal in a 3-0 victory. She spent the 2015-16 season playing professional hockey with the Minnesota Whitecaps while working as a performance specialist at EXOS, an athletic training and nutrition service.
The Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Award is bestowed annually on a top U.S. women’s hockey player at the international, collegiate, high school or club level.
Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Rem Pitlick was the United States Hockey League scoring champion, contributing a league-leading 46 goals and 43 assists for 89 points in 56 games, averaging 1.59 points per game. His eight game-winning goals also ranked first in the USHL, and his 22 power-play assists were second. For his efforts, Pitlick was named both the 2016 USHL Player of the Year and 2016 USHL Forward of the Year by the league’s general managers. He is the first Muskegon Lumberjacks player and 22nd in USHL history to earn both accolades. The five-time USHL Forward of the Week helped lead Muskegon to a 27- 26-3 (W-L-OTL) record during the 2015-16 campaign. From November 25 to December 13, Pitlick went on a league-leading eight-game scoring streak, notching 12 goals in that stretch. On March 25, he set a franchise single-season goal-scoring record when he netted the game-winning goal in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Lincoln Stars, his 42nd marker of the season. On the international stage, Pitlick helped the U.S. Junior Select Team to a third- place finish at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ontario, last December.
The Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Award is presented annually to an exceptional U.S. citizen playing junior hockey in the United States.
Hunter Miska had a record-breaking season for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League and helped the franchise advance all the way to the Clark Cup Finals in 2015-16. In the regular season, Miska won a Dubuque single-season record 32 games. In 46 total appearances, he was 32-13-1 with a 2.46 goals against average and .913 save percentage. He was a two-time recipient of USHL Goaltender of the Week honors and in 11 shootout attempts by opponents, he allowed only one goal for a league-leading .909 shootout save percentage. Miska was the starting netminder for all 12 Dubuque playoff games. After a three games-to-one series victory over Green Bay in the first round, he stopped all 25 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout of Bloomington in the fifth and deciding game of a second-round series. While Tri-Cities won three straight games to claim the Clark Cup championship in the final round, Miska finished the post-season with a 2.24 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. The North Branch, Minnesota, native previously spent two seasons (2011-13) with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, where he appeared in 38 USHL games, going 13-20-2. During his time with the NTDP, he was also a member of the U.S. National Under-18 Team that earned silver at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Men’s World Championship. Miska also played two seasons (2013-15) for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League before joining the Fighting Saints. He has committed to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth following the conclusion of his USHL career.
The Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award, presented by Bauer, is given annually to a top U.S. goaltender at the international, professional, collegiate or junior level.
University of Michigan forward Kyle Connor finished his first collegiate season as the nation’s top scorer with 35 goals and 36 assists for 71 points in 38 games. He was also the NCAA leader in goals (35), goals per game (.92) and points per game (1.87), and was tied for the nation’s lead in power-play points (24) and hat tricks (2). Connor, who finished the season with a school-record 27-game point streak, was named recipient of the 2016 Tim Taylor Award, given annually to the best rookie in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey. He also was a top-three finalist for the 2016 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. His 35 goals marked the most-ever by a rookie and his 71 points were the second-most by any freshman in Michigan history. Selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, Connor was the first Wolverine to reach 35 goals and 70 points in a single season since the 1996-97 campaign. The AHCA/CCM First-Team All-American also led his team with 19 multi- point games, including 12 multi-goal performances. The Shelby Township, Michigan, native helped the Wolverines to their 17th Great Lakes Invitational title with three points (one goal, two assists) in two games. For his efforts, he was named tournament MVP. Connor represented Team USA on the international stage as a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s National Team that finished fourth at the IIHF Men’s World Championship in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, in May. In five appearances, Connor recorded two assists. A 2015 first-round draft pick (17th overall) of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, Connor signed an entry-level contract with the team following the 2015-16 season.
The College Player of the Year Award, presented by Bauer, annually recognizes an individual’s outstanding performance during the U.S. college hockey season.
A leader in growing disabled hockey in Southern California, Sarah Bettencourt found a way to keep hockey in her life after retiring with 100 percent disability from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012. In early 2014, Bettencourt discovered sled hockey while at a monoski camp, and soon after founded the San Diego Ducks Sled Hockey Club. She currently serves as the team’s director, manager and team captain, planning events and also participating in them. Through these roles, Bettencourt encourages other disabled athletes to try sled hockey and spends time instructing new players on basic skills. Bettencourt uses her training as a former Marine captain to lead her team with high standards and long-term vision both for the club and disabled hockey on a larger scale. A member of the U.S. Women’s Sled Hockey Team, Bettencourt helped organize the Pacific Sled Hockey League and create a sled hockey division within the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League. Over the past two years, she has hosted multiple sled clinics, and currently speaks to various organizations about disabled hockey while organizing demonstrations in the Southern California area. As an advisory council member for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, she is helping promote and establish the National Wounded Warrior Center in Mammoth Lakes, California. While she is a participant in sled hockey, Bettencourt’s long-term goals include growing all aspects of disabled hockey. She is currently working to start standing/ amputee and blind/visually impaired hockey programs, in addition to high school and collegiate disabled leagues.
The Disabled Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a disabled athlete that has displayed incredible dedication to disabled hockey in the United States.
Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist specializing in concussions and traumatic brain injury, and is known throughout the athletic community for her extensive work in sports- related concussions and management. Pieroth joined the NorthShore University Health System Sports Concussion Program as an associate director in 2012 after spending 13 years independently working with children and adults with concussive injuries. She has also been involved in assessing NHL players since the league implemented its mandatory preseason and post-injury neuropsychological testing concussion program in 1997. Since 2005, she has worked with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks as a concussion specialist, and is also a current member of the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois’ Safety Committee. Her work in professional sports extends beyond hockey, as Pieroth also serves as a head injury and concussion specialist for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, MLB’s Chicago White Sox, Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire and numerous colleges and high schools. She is on the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of Illinois and is a member of the USA Football Heads Up Advisory Committee and U.S. Soccer Concussion Task Force. In addition, she has written journals and articles on concussion management and assessment. Certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology, Pieroth graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before earning her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.
The Excellence in Safety Award, sponsored by K&K, recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to make hockey a safer game for all participants.
A tireless promoter of USA Hockey’s Officiating Program, Pat Bush has been instrumental in the growth of grassroots officiating development, particularly in North Carolina and the Southeastern District. When Bush started his service with USA Hockey in 1990, there were only a handful of officials in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he quickly became involved in strengthening the base of local officials. He was a catalyst in forming the local officials association in Raleigh, providing a vehicle for growth and development. He served as president of the organization for many years, and still maintains a strong presence within the association. The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, native started attending instructors’ camps in 1996, but was involved in the seminar process long before that. When the idea to hold a district officiating seminar in Raleigh came up, there were concerns about whether the North Carolina market could fill an entire weekend seminar. Bush worked to ensure the seminar was filled, handled logistical elements of the event, and even personally drove around to pick up younger officials so they could attend. Bush continues to work with young officials to ensure they have proper instruction and evaluation as well as opportunities for continued growth. He has set up a mentoring program, and also started a mini seminar series about officiating education. The presentations, which last from one to three hours, take place throughout the season and exemplify Bush’s dedication to mentoring young officials in the North Carolina community.
The Chet Stewart Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the USA Hockey Officiating Education Program during many years of service to the hockey community as an official and/or volunteer.
A U.S. Olympian and former U.S. Women’s National Team forward, Shelley Looney has served USA Hockey in multiple capacities as a member of USA Hockey’s Adult Council since retiring as a player in 2005. In 2015, Looney was as assistant coach for the 2015 U.S. Women’s National University Team that participated at the Winter World University Games in Granada, Spain. She will lead Team USA at the event again in 2017 as head coach of the U.S. squad. Looney assists with several adult hockey events, including USA Hockey Adult National Championships and various skills clinics. In 2012, she was appointed to USA Hockey’s Board of Directors as an athlete director, a capacity she’s served in for the past five years. Currently a co-head coach of the National Women’s Hockey League’s Buffalo Beauts, Looney also is hockey director for the Buffalo Bison Hockey Association. From 2006-13, she was the girls’ and women’s hockey director for the New Jersey Colonials and also spent time as an assistant coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and at the University of Vermont. As a player, Looney scored the gold-medal clinching goal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, helping the U.S. to the first-ever gold medal awarded in women’s hockey. She also earned silver at the 2002 Olympics, and was an eight-time member of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Collegiately, she competed at Northeastern University from 1991-94.
The Adult Member of the Year Award, presented by Labatt Blue, is awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions during many years of service to the ice hockey community as an adult player and/or volunteer.
A longtime coaching education program instructor, Dr. Charles “Chip” J. Burke III is well known throughout the hockey community for his extensive contributions to the safety education of USA Hockey coaches. Burke attended his first USA Hockey coaching clinic in October 1997, and has continued his involvement with the CEP ever since. He created the safety video that is used in all current Level 1-3 clinic presentations, and has spoken at countless events and given presentations on player safety and concussions at coaching clinics of every level. An orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and a leading expert on concussion research, Burke, a Level 4 Coach, has been USA Hockey’s Mid-American District Associate Coach-in-Chief since 2003. He also has served on the organization’s Safety and Protective Equipment Committee for the last 15 years. Furthermore, he helps organize and run Level 1-3 coaching clinics in Western Pennsylvania. Previously, Burke served as the team physician for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins for 24 years and is a member of the club’s Hall of Fame. He also was team physician for multiple U.S. National and Olympic Teams. Originally from Boston, Burke graduated from Harvard University, where he earned a varsity letter in ice hockey, and the University of Cincinnati Medical College. He completed a residency program in orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellowship in traumatology at the AO International Institute in Graz, Austria. Board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Burke is a clinical associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, and the American Medical Association.
The Walter Yaciuk Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a consistent commitment and contribution to the education and development of USA Hockey coaches.
A staple on the U.S. Women’s National Team, Hilary Knight has ranked among the world’s most dominant hockey players for much of the past decade. In 2016, Knight competed in her eighth International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship, pacing all tournament skaters with seven goals and nine points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to its third consecutive gold medal. For her performance, Knight was named most valuable player of the tournament and Best Forward as chosen by the directorate. Additionally, she was selected to the media all-star team and was named one of the top three U.S. players as chosen by the coaches. Prior to her standout world championship performance, Knight collected six points (3-3), including the game-winning overtime goal in the championship game, to help the U.S. claim the 2015 Four Nations Cup in Sundsvall, Sweden. In 132 career games with the United States, Knight has tallied 154 points, including 88 goal and 66 assists, to help the U.S. win two Olympic silver medals (2010, 2014), six IIHF Women’s World Championship gold medals (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) and two IIHF Women’s World Championship silver medals (2007, 2012). Knight played the 2015-16 season with the Boston Pride, where she led the league with 15 goals and 18 assists in 17 games to help the Pride claim the first-ever Isobel Cup as part of the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League. Knight joined the Pride after three seasons with the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League where she became the first U.S.-born player to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2012-13. Knight’s professional career began after skating four seasons for the University of Wisconsin, where she notched 262 points, including 143 goals and 119 assists, in 161 games for the Badgers.
The Bob Johnson Award, presented by Nike, recognizes excellence in international hockey competition during a specific season of play.
Jerry York first arrived at Boston College as a player in 1963 and enjoyed a decorated collegiate career that was highlighted with personal awards and team success. His leadership was evident almost immediately and he became captain his senior year. Following his time as a player, York emerged into the coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Clarkson University for two years. It was there in 1972, at just 26 years old, that he was named head coach and began an illustrious career that has spanned 44 years. He spent his first seven years helping enhance the program at Clarkson before taking the next step in his career in 1979, joining Bowling Green State University as head coach where he spent 15 years guiding the team to new heights, including an NCAA Championship in 1984. York moved on to Boston College in 1994 and began his current tenure with his alma mater. Throughout his time at the helm of the Eagles, he has become the winningest coach in college hockey history. This past season, he became the first coach to reach and surpass 1,000 coaching victories. York has had significant success at each stop in his career and is one of only three coaches in NCAA history to lead two different schools to national titles, winning the pinnacle of college hockey five times in all. His effort behind the bench has earned countless honors including the 1977 Spencer Penrose Award, presented annually to the NCAA Coach of the Year, as well as the New England Coach of the Year twice, Hockey East Coach of the Year on three occasions, and CCHA Coach of the Year in 1981-82. He also received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2010, presented for outstanding service to hockey in the United States, and was inducted into the Bowling Green State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition, his Boston College jersey was retired on April 12, 2010.
The Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to a U.S. citizen who has made hockey his or her profession and has made outstanding contributions on or off the ice to the sport in the United States.
For more than 40 years, Phil Zona has been a fixture on the Massachusetts youth hockey scene, volunteering in nearly every capacity and earning a reputation for dependability no matter the need. But above all, Zona is known for keeping his focus on the kids and relentlessly encouraging others to do the same. His story began not on the ice, but on summer’s baseball fields, where Zona coached kids in the mid-1970s. Lured by a friend who coached hockey at Quincy High School, Zona soon found himself volunteering during the winters, too, as a coach at Quincy. He was then blessed with a new generation of Zona skaters, Peter and Elizabeth, who made Milton’s Max Ulin Rink their second home. Zona didn’t coach his own children, but he happily set them on a path toward their own joyful pursuits, with Peter playing hockey and Elizabeth skating figures. Meanwhile, Zona flung himself into volunteering with Milton Youth Hockey. In the decades to follow, he served Milton, and also Massachusetts Hockey, in countless roles, culminating with his appointment as vice president in 2011, a title he still holds, in addition to serving as registrar, district director and treasurer. He also chairs the scholarship committee, helping ensure that hockey is truly a sport for all. Zona is a catalyst for girls hockey growth, too, serving as director of the South Shore Conference girls program since 2000. And while all those titles are meaningful, a job without an official title was Zona’s favorite. For two decades, he helped run the snack stand at Ulin Rink, connecting with countless children he encountered. Those interactions brought a brighter glow to Ulin, leaving young skaters with lessons and memories every bit as meaningful as those made on the ice.
The Wm. Thayer Tutt Award is presented to a volunteer who, during many years of service, has displayed selfless dedication to the enhancement of ice hockey at the grassroots level in the United States.