Awards

Each year, the team coaches select a Most Valuable Player from the four squads, and determine the recipients of the Vermont and New Hampshire men’s and women’s Sportsmanship awards. These awards are named in honor of some very special people who have been involved in years past and who have exemplified the spirit of this event.

The NH Men’s Sportsmanship award is named in honor of Charlie Holt, long-time and highly successful head coach of the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – who, in retirement, put together and helped coach the very first NH Make-A-Wish All-Star team in 1993. Charlie was the personification of the “gentleman coach”, admired to this day by so many he influenced in collegiate hockey.

The NH Women’s Sportsmanship award is named in honor of Dana Zucker, who has lent his organizational skills to coordinating the NH women’s squad since the women’s game first began in 1998. No other Granite Stater has given so much to this event, and we are most grateful for Dana’s continued support. Both of his daughters played in the Hockey Classic and went on to stellar college hockey careers, as well as returning to help coach the Hockey Classic.

The Vermont Men’s Sportsmanship award is named in honor of Brian DesLauriers, a “Vermont” player in 1996. Brian had to decline a roster invitation that year due to work commitments, but when his time later became available, he came to training camp to help out. The NH squad had lost two players before and during camp, so Brian was approached to play in their places. He went on to score one goal and had an assist in that 1996 game, which NH won 9-5.

Here is a link to pre-game and post-game news clips about the 1996 Make-a-Wish Hockey Classic between Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Vermont Women’s Sportsmanship award is similarly named in honor of Carlisle Doria, who had palyed in one of the inaugural “showcase” seasons, when there was no age limit for the girls’ team. She as even named the MVP following her freshman year in high school! When the eligibility rules changed to only juniors and seniors the next year (to only seniors very soon thereafter), Carlisle watched from the sidelines. She returned in stellar style the following year.

A very special award was created a couple of years ago in honor of a special friend, Fletcher “Buster” Brush. We lost Buster suddenly, and far too soon, in the fall of 2008. He was a founding committee member of the Hockey Classic, an incredible Make-A-Wish Board member, exemplary Wish-granter, dedicated high school hockey coach, tireless representative of a former title sponsor, and invaluable consultant for many years. An award is presented to a player, coach or other Hockey Classic participant who exemplifies Buster’s dedication to community service and/or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“Winning is like the whipped cream on a hot fudge sundae – the extra treat on a good dessert. Winning is also the bonus in sports. It’s the journey – the hard work, the preparation, the discipline and the sacrifice, the camaraderie, the oneness of being a team, and the passion from within to be your best – this is what truly defines one’s character and builds a foundation for one’s success in the arena of sports and in life.”

~Fletcher “Buster” Brush