All of the young men of the Seattle Thunderbirds are well known for their hard work for the community, participating in numerous community service projects and events throughout the year. Many even donate their time during the off season months. Every year, the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Humanitarian of the Year Award goes to a special player who is known for giving his time and energy to a cause that is important to his heart. The Western Hockey League announced that this year, Seattle Thunderbirds captain Jerret Smith has been nominated for the honor. Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong has also received a nomination for the award.
Smith’s nomination comes from his work with area youth. He is a key mentor in the Kent area in a variety of ways. He has spoken at assemblies, mentoring student one on one and even developing a personal bond with one of the students that he mentored. Keep in mind that the Birds take part in these activities during their free time, not time they have together for practice as a team. During the assemblies Smith participated in, he spread an anti-bullying message. He also spoke about taking responsibility and goal setting, two themes that athletes often speak about to school groups.
Smith has also led school groups on tours of the ShoWare Center and a behind the scenes peek about what happens with the team off the ice. He was also a caring presence with one of his youth fans when the fan’s father passed away. Wong has done similar acts of goodwill in his own community, providing mentorship as well as pledging to donate $5 per goal made to charity. He also works as a teacher’s assistant every week to help children with their reading, math and science homework in a fifth grade classroom. Both players have been great role models for children in their local communities as well as shining examples of what an athlete can be.
This is not Smith’s first time being honored as a humanitarian. He was dubbed T-Birds Humanitarian of the Year last year during the Thunderbirds’ award ceremony. Check in on May 5 when the award will be announced and we will find out if Smith or Wong receives the honor this year. The ceremony will occur in Calgary. Do you think the award should go to Smith or Wong this year?
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia