Chicago Wolves defenseman Andre Benoit received the 2016 Tim Breslin Unsung Hero Award prior to Saturday’s game against Lake Erie at Allstate Arena. The award honors the Wolves player who best exemplifies Breslin’s on-ice spirit, team-first attitude, and community involvement. The Wolves alternate captain became the 11th player to earn the honor.
Breslin, one of the first three players signed by the Wolves after the franchise was formed in 1994, passed away on Feb. 9, 2005, due to complications from appendiceal cancer. The Addison, Ill. native and Driscoll Catholic High School graduate posted 37 goals and 82 assists during his five seasons with the Wolves and earned a ring as a member of the 1998 Turner Cup Championship squad. Breslin’s family, including his widow, Jami, and their children, Shane, Paige, and Chase, participated in the on-ice ceremony for Benoit.
“Andre is one of those guys who is steady as she goes,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson, who coached Breslin for his final two seasons with the team. “He never gets too up, never gets too down. ‘Brez’ was that way. He was very focused all the time. Andre comes to work and does his job hard. His steadiness and reliability reminds me of Tim.”
Benoit was named the 2016 Breslin Award winner after fans cast votes on ChicagoWolves.com for the three candidates nominated by the Wolves coaching staff: Benoit, defenseman Peter Harrold and forward Jeremy Welsh. Benoit joins Brent Regner (2014 and 2015), Bill Sweatt (2013), Mark Matheson (2012), Jaime Sifers (2011), Matt Anderson (2010), Steve Martins (2009), Brian Sipotz (2008), Brian Fahey (2007), Kevin Doell (2006) and Tim Wedderburn (2005) as the Wolves players who have received this award.
“To get an award named after Tim Breslin, it’s a big honor,” Benoit said. “He means a lot to this franchise. He was a hard-working guy. I’m very proud of it.”
The 32-year-old Benoit has been one of the Wolves’ leading scorers all season. With five games remaining in the regular season, the St. Albert, Ontario, native owns 8 goals and 24 assists. Benoit was named an AHL All-Star at midseason and helped the Central Division capture the AHL All-Star Challenge.
Saturday’s pregame ceremony also included Fenwick High School senior Ryan Clark, the winner of the Tim Breslin Memorial scholarship. Clark has persevered and achieved greatly during his high school years while overcoming a hardship, which is the focus of the Breslin scholarship. He will receive a $7,500 grant toward his college education.