AHL's Yanick Dupre Award Goes to League's Athletic Trainers

The American Hockey League and the Texas Stars announced this afternoon that the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award has been awarded to all of the league's 31 head athletic trainers. The award was granted to recognize the role all athletic trainers played in tracking COVID health and safety protocls on top of their usual job. Texas's awardee, Mike DeGaetano, also happened to play in a game this season as a backup goalie.

Here's the release: 

The American Hockey League announced today that, in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic, head athletic trainers from all 31 member clubs have been selected as the winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award for 2020-21. Stars Athletic Trainer Mike DeGaetano is among the winners of the award during his first season behind the bench in Texas.

Presented annually since 1998, this award traditionally acknowledges a player as the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to his local community; in 2020-21, the league is pleased to recognize the athletic training staffs from all 31 organizations.

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.

DeGaetano joined the organization from the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears where he was the team’s Athletic Trainer since the start of the 2019-20 season. Prior to the move to Orlando, he held multiple internships including a year-long program with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

Originally from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the 26-year-old attended Penn State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Movement Science in 2017. He then enrolled in West Chester University of Pennsylvania and completed a master’s degree in Athletic Training. He is currently a member of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

This year’s winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award are:

  • 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 AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupre, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupre played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and was an AHL All-Star in 1995.