Bulldogs’ Hughes and Patt nominated for Hockey Humanitarian Award – The Rink Live
DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth seniors Gabbie Hughes and Ben Patt have been nominated for the 2022 Hockey Humanitarian Award, an honor given to what the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation calls “college hockey’s top citizen.”
Hughes and Patt are among the 11 nominees, as is senior Minnesota State defenseman and Hermantown native Wyatt Aamodt. The finalists will be announced in February while the winner will be honored on April 9, 2022, at the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Boston.
Hughes, a senior center for the Bulldogs women’s team, has raised awareness of youth mental health and college athletics this season through her work with Sophie’s Squad – an organization she and her family helped found after the death of Sophie Wieland, 14 years old. , by suicide during the summer.
Wieland was not only a player whom Hughes and her father — Terry — coached, but also a friend.
Hughes and her family recently hosted a Hockey Hits Back event at Amsoil Arena that raised $8,000 for Sophie’s Squad, which has held Hockey Hits Back events in Minnesota high schools this season to raise awareness of mental health issues. .
“Just through everything that’s happened since the day we found out that (Sophie) had died, I think something changed in my heart and in my head that I had to do something about it,” said Hughes on the Bulldog Insider Podcast. “It’s so much more important than the game.
“I love the game so much and I’m so passionate about it. I play my heart out every game, but it’s just for a different reason now.
On the ice, Hughes is the nation’s leading scorer with 1.82 points per game thanks to 14 goals and 26 assists in 22 games. She is also tied with senior teammate Elizabeth Giguere for the national lead in assists per game at 1.18.
At Amsoil Arena, personalized videos are shown every time a Bulldog scores a point. They are also used in presentations and shared on social media as GIFs. Hughes’ video this season is a tribute to Wieland, whose initials are featured on Hughes’ stick before the Bulldogs’ assistant captain points skyward.
“I carry her sticker with me everywhere and now I play for her,” Hughes said in October, explaining his tribute. “A lot of the things I do, I live for her, so she can see the real beauties of the world. I can show her what it’s like to play college hockey as she looks down on me. My GIF just shows her and lets people know that’s why I do what I do and why.When I score, I do it for her this year.
Patt, a redshirted senior goaltender for the Bulldogs men’s hockey team who finally got his first two starts as a Bulldog in December, also addressed the issue of mental health this season, as well as other significant male health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. .
Patt led the Bulldogs’ annual Movember Foundation campaign in November, helping to raise more than $11,000 after initially setting a modest goal of $1,000. This year’s campaign took on special significance for the team because one of their own, second-year goaltender Zach Stejskal, battled testicular cancer.
Once Stejskal went public with his diagnosis in November, donations poured in for the Bulldogs; and mustaches, they were growing. The target was raised to $5,000, $8,000 and finally $10,000 before the end of the month.
Patt, whose mustache also earned him the title of NCHC’s Top Movember Mustache for the second time in his college career, said he hopes his legacy at UMD is that the team continues to raise funds for the Movember Foundation each season after his departure.
“We guys were on board and they all used their social media,” Patt said in December on the Bulldog Insider Podcast. “Part of me wants to go with these guys in their minds that we have the ability, using our social media and using our platform, to do some good and try to give back a little bit. It was the first great example of the power we have to motivate and move some people, to give back to a charity and a foundation like that.
“I’m super proud of the guys in the room and we all feel great about it.”