By Michael Caples –
The Grand Rapids Griffins announced today that Chad Billins will be recognized for his effort not on the ice, but off of it.
The Marysville native and Griffins rookie defenseman was named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialy AHL Man of the Year award for community-outreach efforts throughout the season.
The former Ferris State standout is one point away from becoming the Griffins’ all-time highest-scoring rookie defenseman, yet that hasn’t stopped him from helping others off the ice. Billins attended more events and functions than any other Griffins player this season. Some of the activities he participated in included:
- Walking dogs at the Pups and Pucks Fall Walk-A-Thon (Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary)
- Serving beverages at the Red, White and Brews (Easter Seals)
- Packing lunches at Kid’s Food Basket
- Appearing at Uccello’s resturant for Tip-A-Griffin (Griffins Youth Foundation)
- Skating with fans at the Great Skate Winterfest
- Participating in the Griffins vs. Sled Wings sled hockey game
Billins also frequented the Griffins’ post-game events, including open skates and autograph sessions, along with attending youth hockey practices as part of the ‘Growing with the Griffins’ program. He also spent time at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, read to children at a local elementary school, and many more events.
Billins is one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2012-13 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, which honors the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The Yanick Dupre Memorial Award is named after the former Hersey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who passed away in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia.