Petrecki wins Yanick Dupré Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced that defenseman Nick Petrecki of the Worcester Sharks has been selected the winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award as the 2011-12 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.

The award is presented annually to an AHL player for his outstanding contributions to his local community and charitable organizations. The Yanick Dupré Memorial Award winner is selected by the AHL from among 30 individual team Man of the Year honorees.

A third-year pro in the Sharks organization, Petrecki has taken the initiative to go above and beyond with regards to community outreach, establishing himself as a leader throughout central Massachusetts. Recipient of Worcester’s team Man of the Year each of the last two seasons, Petrecki has become the lead spokesman for the Sharks’ two flagship community programs, FINZ Fit Kidz and Reading is Cool. He has taken the lead in performing assemblies at schools and Boys and Girls Clubs in the Worcester area, and has read books and spoken about the importance of reading to thousands of students in the region, endearing himself and the organization to local educators.

Petrecki rallied his teammates to participate in the fourth annual Give Moore for the Holidays toy drive, inviting underprivileged children and their families to the DCU Center to receive a donation of more than $3,000 worth of toys following a Sharks game in December. He also worked with Hockey Ministries International to organize a Sharks Faith and Family Night; participated in street hockey clinics; led youth group discussions at Y.O.U., Inc., a leading child welfare and behavioral health organization; and painted a street mural to promote Athletes for a Greener Planet.

A 22-year-old native of Schenectady, N.Y., Petrecki was a first-round draft pick by the San Jose Sharks in 2007.

The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupré, 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, Dupré played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, and participated in the 1995 AHL All-Star Game.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2011-12 regular season ends on Apr. 15, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs get under way.