When we think of student athletes, plenty of thoughts come to mind. Some may envision a varsity competitor who devotes his or her efforts to training, practicing and playing full-time while balancing the rigors of academics. But one Geneseo student-athlete has gone a step further. Senior assistant captain and Ice Knights forward Tyler Brickler has been recognized on a national level for his community service. Brickler was announced as one of 15 finalists for the 2015 Bank of New York Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award on Thursday Jan. 22. He is one of five Division III candidates, along with other men’s and women’s players from Division I and II institutions.
The award honors college hockey’s finest citizen, a student-athlete who makes significant contributions to his team as well as in the community through leadership and volunteerism.
Brickler’s drive and passion to make a difference in the Geneseo community is the reason for his nomination alongside college hockey’s best. His story began while he was working part-time at the Geneseo admissions office, learning that co-worker Kevin Reed had just become the father of an infant with Down syndrome. “I held a team meeting at the beginning of the year to dedicate the 2014-15 season to [Reed’s son] Jack,” he said.
Brickler added, “This [award] means much more to Geneseo and the Reed family than it does to me. I initially wanted to raise awareness and didn’t have an award in mind.”
Brickler organized the Down Syndrome Awareness Night for Saturday Jan. 24 at the Ira S. Wilson Arena. That evening, it was Brickler who scored the game-tying goal to lead the Ice Knights to a 3-1 victory over SUNY Canton.
“We wanted to take it to the next level and dedicate a game to Down syndrome awareness,” Brickler said. “It was more than just a hockey game that night; I couldn’t believe the response from the community. The best part of the game was seeing all the fans in attendance.”
Altogether, the event raised more than $2,500. Brickler noted his gratitude toward his team members and is excited to give back to the Geneseo community.
“My plan for the final home game is to bring in the officials from the Arc of Livingston-Wyoming––a local non-profit organization which helps disabled individuals––and present them with a large check for 100 percent of the proceeds,” he said. “The team couldn’t be any more supportive this season; everyone has been so helpful in so many ways”
Finalists for the Humanitarian Award will be announced in February and a winner will be chosen during the Frozen Four in Boston on April 10.