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Ilitch Charities awards $20K in scholarships

Monday, 07.27.2009 / 3:08 PM ET / News
By Christy Hammond  - Community Relations Manager
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Ilitch Charities awards $20K in scholarships
DETROIT – Former Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek allowed just two goals in Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup finals that stretched into three overtime periods, ending early the following morning. Despite the victory, Hasek was not pleased with his play so he got up early to participate in the optional morning skate to work on his game.

The Chairman of Ilitch Charities, Christopher Ilitch, described Hasek as the epitome of what it takes to be successful at a ceremony honoring scholarship recipients at Hockeytown Café on Monday afternoon.

Eight student-athletes from the Little Caesars AAA hockey program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL) each received a $2,500 scholarship from Ilitch Charities for their athletic and academic successes.

Ilitch spoke to the honorees and their families about the importance of being successful every day not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. He emphasized three characteristics of a successful individual – commitment, hard work and perseverance.

“There’s no substitute for working hard,” he said.

The student-athletes exemplified those three traits during their high school years, excelling in hockey, school and community service.

Ilitch Charities asked qualified students or their coaches or parents to apply for the scholarship over the course of the past season. To qualify, students must have been a current member of a Little Caesars AAA or LCAHL team, had to hold at least a 3.0 grad-point average, and must have plans to attend college within the next two years.

Members of the Ilitch Charities Board of Directors then interviewed applicants to better understand their education, community service experiences, their hockey performances, and what they hope to accomplish in college and beyond. The board made its final selections based on the interviews.

Recipients like Andrea Kot juggled travel hockey and a math-intensive course load on top of leading a recycling program at her high school. Her most memorable moment playing in the LCAHL came when her team defeated a team from Traverse City, Mich., to win the state title, despite losing to the same squad in each of their pre-season and regular-season contests.

“It was difficult, but it was manageable,” Kot said of all her activities. “I was able to balance them all pretty well. It wasn’t too hard for me. I’m good at that I guess.”

A final number of applicants was not immediately available, but the number was expected to rise this year due to the rising cost of college tuition as well as the downturn in the economy.

“It helps pay for my first year,” Mackenzie Smith said, noting the benefits of the scholarship. “I think I have my first entire year paid for with scholarships.”

The financial support is the primary benefit for the winning student-athletes, but there is also another way it helps the honorees.

“It obviously offsets the costs and the parents' costs,” Ilitch said, “but I think even more than that it signals them and gives them the confidence that they are on the right path. They are doing some great things not only on the ice, but off the ice as it relates to their grades and their community service. I think that by acknowledging those efforts, it really motivates them and encourages them to continue those types of efforts into the future, which is ultimately where a lot of their success will continue to come from.”

Kot added that winning this scholarship has motivated her to continue to play hockey at Michigan State University, despite the heavy workload that will come with her electrical engineering degree.

Hockey teaches athletes the importance of teamwork, hard work and dedication. The eight recipients also learned how to effectively manage their time like doing homework while driving to hockey practice.

The eight honorees include:

Stephen Barnett, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: The Lahser High School graduate will attend Michigan State University and play club hockey.

Chelsie Boroski, Sterling Heights, Michigan:
She recently graduated from Henry Ford II High School and was an assistant captain on her Little Caesars team. She will play Division III hockey at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Ryan Brown, St. Johns, Michigan: The 2009 Michigan Hockey Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year will attend Saginaw Valley State University where he will tryout for the hockey team and major in business.

Jillayne DeBus, Howell, Michigan:
DeBus graduated from Hartland High School and will play hockey at Elmira (N.Y.) College where she wants to become fluent in Spanish.

Andrea Kot, Goodrich, Michigan: Kot graduated from Goodrich High School with a 3.75 GPA. She plans to major in electrical engineering at Michigan State University and will play on the club hockey team.

Brandon Lubin, Commerce Township, Michigan: The Walled Lake Northern High graduate will play in the North American Hockey League for Albert Lea Thunder before pursuing a medical degree.

Mackenzie Smith, Jackson, Michigan: Smith played percussion for Jackson High School in addition to her time playing in the LCAHL. She will attend Michigan State University where she will tryout for the club hockey team and major in kinesiology (phyiscal therapy).

Jay Snyder, Toledo, Ohio: Snyder juggled LCAHL, and bowling and track at Waite High School. He will attend Bowling Green State University to pursue a degree in criminal justice.




1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89