Minor league hockey players Dustin Sproat ’06 and Kyle Hagel ’08 have more in common than just their profession and alma mater. Both Sproat and Hagel have been devoted to community service in their time away from the ice. And last week, both players were honored for their efforts.
Sproat, a forward for the Cincinnati Cyclones, shared the East Coast Hockey League’s Community Service Award for his work as a co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K). Fellow HP4K member Chris Frank, a defenseman for the Elmira Jackals, also was honored. Nearly 50 pro players, including several Princeton alumni, have signed on to the HP4K cause, donating their time to help children in the cities where they play. This year, Sproat and his Cincinnati teammates volunteered at YMCA and Boys and Girls Club after-school programs, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House. In a news release, Kristin Ropp, the Cyclones’ vice president and general manager, called Sproat “a star on and off the ice. He is able to use the minimal personal time he has to make a difference in the lives of Cincinnati’s children.”
Hagel, also a member of HP4K, was honored by his team, the Rockford (Ill.) IceHogs of the American Hockey League. This season, he created the “Stick to Reading” program at a local elementary school, encouraging fourth- and fifth-grade students to improve their reading habits. (HP4K aims to make “Stick to Reading” a signature program; the Princeton men’s hockey team launched its own branch near campus.) In a news release from the IceHogs, teachers and administrators from the host school, Kishwaukee Elementary, noted that they were impressed by Hagel’s enthusiasm and commitment. “We had a number of students who normally wouldn’t read get involved in the program, and it definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Al Gagliano, the school’s principal.
Another Tiger alumnus and HP4K co-founder, Mike Moore ’08, was twice honored for his community-service work as a member of the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, in 2009 and 2010.
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