Men's Ice Hockey


Jan. 26, 1998

Notre Dame's Steve Noble Named a Finalist for Hockey Humanitarian Award

Irish captain to be honored prior to March 7 game versus Michigan

Boston, Mass.-- Notre Dame senior center Steve Noble (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) is among five college hockey players who, because of their strong commitment to their communities and their teams, have been named finalists for the 1998 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen.

The other finalists includes: Casey Hankinson, a senior forward and two-year captain at the University of Minnesota; Tyler Harlton, a senior defenseman and captain of Michigan State; Erik Raygor, a senior forward and two-year captain at the University of Wisconsin; and Erin Schmalz, a senior forward and two-time captain of the Cornell University women's hockey team.

Noble--the first three-year team captain in the history of Notre Dame hockey--has faced off against Harlton and Raygor during the 1997-98 season while Hankinson's Minnesota team played host to Notre Dame at this year's Mariucci Classic (the Irish and Gophers did not play).

The announcement of this year's Hockey Humanitarian recipient will be made Friday, April 3rd in Boston, Mass., as part of the festivities surrounding the NCAA Finals, which will be held April 2-4 at the FleetCenter. each of the finalists will receive atrophy prior to their final regular-season home game, with Noble scheduled to be honored prior to the March 7 game versus Michigan at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.

Boston University goaltender J.P. McKersie received the initial Humanitarian Award in 1996, while University of Michigan defenseman Blake Sloan was last year's recipient.

Noble, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, owns the highest grade-point average of all Notre Dame student-athletes, with a 3.958 cumulative GPA through the 1997 spring semester. He has posted 28 A's, two A-'s and one B+ through his first seven semesters, while achieving four perfect 4.0 semesters. Enrolled in the College of Business Administration with a major in accounting, Noble was voted a GTE second team Academic All-American in 1996-97.

On the ice, Noble has missed just one game during his career playing in 134 of 135) and is currently tied for second on the Notre Dame team with 23 points (8 G, 15 A). Noble was voted Notre Dame's best defensive forward as a sophomore and junior. Noble, who came back from major back surgery prior to his freshman season, received the 1997 CCHA Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes the league's player who has overcome personal adversity to succeed both on and off the ice.

Outside the rink, Noble he is a member of Notre Dame's captain's council, the NCAA Certification Committee/Academic Integrity Council and the Notre Dame Presidential Leadership Committee that meets monthly with the University president.

In addition, he is a volunteer at a local shelter for the homeless and Logan Center, a unit for mentally and physically challenged individuals. He has also helped organize the Notre Dame hockey program's "Power Play Run for Cancer," has coached youth hockey in South Bend and has served as a volunteer with Christmas in April and Adopt-a-Highway.

HOCKEY HUMANITARIAN AWARD MISSION STATEMENT " In an era of ever-increasng ego display, when so many of today's athletes are sending the wrong message to our children and when success often seems measured solely by dollar signs and contract signings, it is time to call attention to individuals who embody all that is, and can be, right with sport. While the media often seem preoccupied with the antics of players after the whistle or outside the game-all the while decrying the absence of better role models for our youth- the Hockey Humanitarians want to put sports, and all of it's participants, in the proper perspective. And, while team games, by definition, encompass both teamwork and the contributions of the individual to the success of the group as a whole, we want to acknowledge the accomplishments of personal character, scholarship, and the giving of oneself off the ice to the larger community as well. The Humanitarian Award is meant to be seen as a true measure of a person's worth, not just as an athlete, but as someone who embodies those values that merit our recognition.

"In addition to our annual player award, the Hockey Humanitarians intend to provide information to the youth, high school, and college hockey programs across the U.S., highlighting the scholastic achievements and community service efforts as well as the athletics kills of each year's finalist. It is our hope that in some small way such a display will have a positive influence on future generations of hockey players. We feel an obligation to help our children find the proper balance as they confront deciding who their role models are and what values they should embrace in this increasing complex world. Our foundation believes there are Humanitarians to be found in programs everywhere and that it is time for many in the media to reconsider their focus on the frequently destructive and selfish behavior of those athletes who often receive too much of our attention. We feel that the great majority of us share the values represented by The Humanitarian Award and that the time has come for this message to be more widely disseminated."


Casey Hankinson: A resident of Edina, Minn., Hankinson owns a B average while majoring in individual studies in the University's business school. He was a member of the WCHA All-Academic Team in 1995-96 and has been involved with the youth in both his native Edina as well as the Minneapolis-St. Paul areas. In the Twin Cities, he volunteered to help a severely emotional and behaviorally disturbed child at a local elementary school. His efforts centered around teaching the youngster more about hockey. In addition, Hankinson and teammate Mike Anderson would visit the local school, introduce themselves to the youngsters, sign autographs, and in one case played hockey with one of the classes. This marks the second year Hankinson has been nominated for the Humanitarian Award. A year ago, his nomination was built around his volunteer work with Ben Peyton, a neighbor in Edina, who was paralyzed while playing high school hockey. Hankinson helped boost the spirits not only of the young Peyton but also the entire family. Peyton now is back attending school and no longer is confined to his wheelchair.

Tyler Harlton: A native of Pensc, Sask., Harlton has a 3.69 GPA while majoring in political theory in the University's James Madison Honors College. His academic honors last year included GTE Academic All-District Team, Academic All-CCHA, as well as Academic All-Big Ten for the second year. He was MSU team co-captain as a sophomore and captain his junior and senior years, making him MSU's first three-time captain in over a decade. During the 1996-97 season, he was voted the CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman, MSU's outstanding defensive player and was honorable mention All-CCHA. Harlton serves as president of MSU's Student Athlete Advisory Committee, is a member of the MSU Athletic Council, the Student-Athlete Mentoring program, the Drug Education and Testing Committee, the Academic and Compliance Services Committee, and the Varsity "S" Club. Off campus, he regularly addresses young children on healthy lifestyles, positive self-imaging, and educational values. He has participated in community service through a variety of outreach programs, most notable D.A.R.E.

Erik Raygor: A resident of Superior, Wis., Raygor has received his BS in Rehabilitative Psychology and is currently pursuing his post-graduate certification in Special Education. He is the first Badger hockey player to be a graduate student and a student-athlete. Raygot has been named to the Dean's List three times, is a two-time WCHA All-Academic selection, and currently is serving his second year as team captain. Since 1994, his extra-curricular activities have taken him from his hometown of Superior to Madison to Duluth, Minn.. For nearly four years, he has volunteered for Special Olympics, has been a volunteer for his hometown police department for the emergency training response and has helped the YMCA run programs for youth and adults with cognitive disabilities. Over the last three years, he has been involved with D.A.R.E. In 1995 and again in 1997, when the Wisconsin hockey team traveled to Duluth to play Minnesota-Duluth, he took teammates to the Miller-Duan Hospital to visit patients both in the burn units and psychiatric units. His other activities have included a non-paying internship at an adult agency that helps people with disabilities find funding for jobs, buying houses, etc. Raygor has been a volunteer at Aids Awareness Week, has helped run a preschool at Madison East High School and has coached YMCA youth soccer teams.

Erin Marie Schmalz: A native of Wilcox, Sask., Schmalz is enrolled in Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. During the 1997 spring, she achieved a 3.77 grade-point average to bring her overall GPA to a 3.29. Last year's third-leading scorer with 22 points and the team co-MVP, Erin has been active in the Ithaca, N.Y. community since her arrival almost four years ago. Her activities have ranged from teaching Sunday School to spending time with her "Little Sisters" in the Tompkins Country Girls Hockey League. She also served as a Teaching Assistant in one of the art courses at Cornell. In that capacity, she helped her fellow students learn as they served in volunteer teaching positions in the Ithaca community.

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