A local product has won an NHL award for some really excellent work in the community. Kevin Hodgson, of the HEROS Hockey Foundation, has been named the 2020-21 winner of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.
— NHL (@NHL) June 17, 2021
Hodgson was honoured with the award following a round of fan balloting between him and two other well-deserving finalists: Renee Hess of the Black Girl Hockey Club and Howard Smith of Pittsburgh I.C.E.
Via the NHL, here’s Hodgson’s bio:
Kevin Hodgson is the executive director of HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society) which empowers at-risk youth, and SuperHEROS, which provides boys and girls living with physical and cognitive challenges with a safe and inclusive environment as well as an adapted on-ice curriculum. Hodgson oversees the volunteer-driven nonprofit that operates 28 programs in 12 cities across Canada serving participants from diverse backgrounds. One in three participants are girls, and almost half of the participants are new Canadians. On the ice, HEROS provides free hockey programming in a safe, stable environment. Off the ice, they provide opportunities for personal development as well as education and scholarship assistance to help young people succeed. Since 2000, nearly 10,000 boys and girls have participated in the program.
Named after Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree, who became the first black player in the NHL in 1958, the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award is designed to honour an individual who – through the sport of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.
Congrats to Hodgson on the award and to all the nominees for their excellent contributions to their community and the world of hockey.