UTICA, N.Y. - The American Hockey League announced it's annual Yanick Dupre Memorial Award winner, Monday, with a unique twist this season.
Typically given each season to the "Man of the Year," recognizing a player for outstanding contributions to his team's local community, this year the league awarded the honor to the head athletic trainers from each of the 31 AHL organizations.
The AHL said in its release that it is recognizing team athletic trainers and their staff for their efforts during the pandemic-riddled 2020-21 season:
"In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities of looking after the general health of their players – including the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries – these athletic trainers and therapists took on the additional duties of testing, monitoring and administering the AHL's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, allowing the league to operate in a safe and effective manner during the pandemic."
For the Utica Comets, head athletic trainer Roman Kaszczij is the recipient of the award.
Kaszczij just completed his second season as the athletic therapist on the Comets' staff after spending a couple of years as an intern with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL.
Prior to that, he graduated from MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario with an undergraduate degree in kinesiology.
The league also recognized other members of each team's medical staff, and equipment managers for their contributions throughout the year.
Ryan Monaco also serves as an athletic trainer for the Comets, with Damion Parmelee the team's head equipment manager, and Greg Lowden the assistant equipment manager.
Below are all 31 recipients of the 2020-21 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award:
Chad Drown, Bakersfield Condors
Craig Belfer, Belleville Senators
Jon Williams, Binghamton Devils
Josh Sabitsky, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Alex Ambrose, Charlotte Checkers
Kevin Kacer, Chicago Wolves
Tom Bourdon, Cleveland Monsters
Brent Woodside, Colorado Eagles
Josh Chapman, Grand Rapids Griffins
Brian Fairbrother, Hartford Wolf Pack
Todd Richardson, Henderson Silver Knights
Brian Riedel, Hershey Bears
Masayasu Takaiwa and Cole Harding, Iowa Wild
Glen Kinney, Laval Rocket
Brian Grogesky, Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Zach Salmonson, Manitoba Moose
Doug Agnew, Milwaukee Admirals
Jeff Andrews, Ontario Reign
Dustin Stuck, Providence Bruins
Michael Dhesse, Rochester Americans
D.J. Jones, Rockford IceHogs
Ryan Ledwon, San Diego Gulls
Will Leonard, San Jose Barracuda
Koryd Lavimoniere, Springfield Thunderbirds
Bryan Erspamer, Stockton Heat
Brad Chavis, Syracuse Crunch
Mike DeGaetano, Texas Stars
Jordan Aube, Toronto Marlies
Bill Nervig, Tucson Roadrunners
Roman Kaszczij, Utica Comets**
Seamus McKelvey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
The Man of the Year award is named after former player Yanick Dupre, who died in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with Leukemia.