NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Senior captain defenseman Shawn Baker of the Norwich University men's ice hockey team has been named a finalist for the 2012 Hockey Humanitarian Award presented by BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
The prestigious award has been given annually for the past 16 years to college hockey's finest citizen to recognize players at the Division I, II or III level, male or female, who give back to their community in the true humanitarian spirit.
Baker is one of five finalists that also include Saint Anselm's Tucker Mullin, Yale's Aleca Hughes, Colgate's Kevin McNamara and Miami (Ohio)'s Cody Reichard.
He is the first finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in Norwich University history. Former Cadet Jason Wilson was one of 18 nominees in 2006, but he did not make the cut down to the seven finalists.
The recipient of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award will be presented on April 6, 2012, during the Friday night ceremonies at the NCAA Division I Frozen Four, in Tampa, Fla.
Baker (Mont-Laurier, Quebec) has been a standout both on and off the ice for the Cadets over the past four seasons.
On the ice, he has become a crowd favorite for his big hits and stalwart defensive play while patrolling the Cadets' blue line. Off the ice, Baker has distinguished himself in the local community for his efforts as a volunteer firefighter in the Northfield Fire Department for the past four years.
"Everything has to do with time management and not getting behind with school work because of having practice everyday and the fact that I can get called for hours on a firecall the day before a paper is due," Baker said. "It's actually fun to combine school, hockey and firefighter because as an active person, it keeps me going everyday and I learn or experience things that help me grow."
Baker was recently featured in the fall 2011 edition of NCAA Champion Magazine for his remarkable story. He volunteered countless hours helping local residents recover from the devastation of Hurricane Irene that turned life in Central Vermont upside down in late August and early September.
"It's awesome to be recognized for something I've done off the ice," Baker said. "Northfield is still recovering from some dark days after the flood and I'm just trying to do my part to help out my community."
You can view the magazine at the following link:
Baker was an assistant captain last year, and this year he took over as team captain after Chad Anderson graduated last spring. With his leadership, Norwich (16-1-1, 11-1-0 ECAC East) has been the No. 1 D-III team in the land for the past 10 weeks in the United States College Hockey Online.com (USCHO) Poll.
"Shawn is a natural leader that does it on the ice and off it," said Norwich head coach Mike McShane. "The kids really respect him, and he's a hard worker in the classroom. He's likeable, but he's very tough and competitive. There is a lot of weight on your shoulders when you become the captain by dealing with adversity throughout the course of the year, but I think Shawn has done a tremendous job."
Boston College's Brooks Dyroff was last year's recipient. There have only been three Division III players to ever win the award with William Bruce (Williams – 2008), Rocky Ray Reeves (Buffalo State – 2002) and Kristine Pierce (Rochester Inst. of Technology – 1999).
For the first time this year, the Hockey Humanitarian Committee will be awarding each of the five finalists $250 to be donated to the charity of their choice.
Baker has chosen "La Foundation Du CHUM" as his charity to donate to. The Foundation, in conjunction with the University of Montreal Hospital Burn Center and the Quebec Firefighters Foundation, support care and research to improve treatment and quality of life for serious burn victims.
"The CHUM Burn center is a cause that is very important to me as a firefighter," Baker said. "I wanted to give to a charity that is connected with my job. I feel this is something where people need important help, because they haven't just lost material because of the fire, but also have lost their physical appearance. By getting donations, doctors are able to perform surgery for free."
Baker will be presented a check that he will donate to the CHUM Burn Center during a pre-game ceremony before the start of the Norwich/UMass-Boston game on Feb. 17 at Kreitzberg Arena.
Shawn will graduate in the spring with a degree in Criminal Justice. He is a member of the Norwich Criminal Justice Fraternity (Alpha Phi Sigma) and already has a degree from the Academy of Firefighting at Mirabel in Quebec. He's been on the dean's list every semester at Norwich and was named to the ECAC East All-Academic Team in 2011.
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