News | 4/2/2012 3:13:38 PM | ROCHESTER AMERICANS
|Derek Whitmore Reading at Pittsford Library
The Rochester Americans are proud to announce that forward Derek Whitmore has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Rochester community during the 2011-12 season. The selection marks the third straight season for Whitmore, who was also given the honors his previous two seasons with the Portland Pirates.
Whitmore is living out his childhood dream this season by playing for his hometown team. A native of the Rochester suburb of Greece, Whitmore has taken the opportunity of playing in his hometown to give back to the community every chance he can. Over the course of the season, he has visited patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital, read to kids at libraries throughout Monroe County, lent a hand at Foodlink and skated with numerous youth and high school hockey teams.
Most recently, Whitmore joined a small group of Amerks players on a visit to the Golisano Children’s Hospital and spent the afternoon playing Bingo with patients ranging in ages five to 15, making a strong effort to engage the children. When it was over, he accompanied a hospital employee to a different unit, where he visited with patients who were unable to leave their rooms for the Bingo game.
Earlier in the season, Whitmore visited Foodlink a week before Thanksgiving. After touring the facility, Whitmore led a group of teammates in sorting hundreds of pounds of food that was to be distributed to various shelters. At Christmas time, he volunteered to sponsor a family in need by purchasing gifts and providing the funds for a Christmas dinner through The Salvation Army.
Having grown up in Rochester, Whitmore starred for the Greece Lightning High School hockey team before leaving to pursue a junior career. This season, Whitmore attended one of the team’s games and delivered a pep talk in the dressing room prior to the game. He was then honored before the game, dropping the ceremonial first puck and being presented with his framed high school jersey. In addition to speaking to his former team, Whitmore also found the time to skate with six different high school or youth hockey teams during the winter, assisting with drills and providing great insight on what it takes to advance one’s hockey career.
The Bowling Green University graduate is also a big proponent of education, and as such, eagerly participated in the Amerks Power Play Reading Program by visiting libraries throughout Monroe County to read to children and discuss the importance of a good education. Whether venturing out into the community or simply engaging in conversations with fans and various military personnel that have visited the Amerks this season, Whitmore has undoubtedly made a positive impact upon returning to the Rochester community.
Whitmore is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2011-12 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League in the coming weeks.