In all facets, the 2015-16 season turned out to be the finest of Chicago Wolves center Pat Cannone’s professional career. Not only did the team’s captain set career-highs for goals (20), assists (32) and points (52) while leading the Wolves in scoring, he earned the Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award in recognition of his all-encompassing commitment to charitable work throughout the Chicago area.
One Wolves player receives this award each season in memory of Snyder, who passed away on Oct. 5, 2003, at the age of 25 after suffering head injuries in a car accident. Snyder spent the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons with the Wolves and helped the team capture the 2002 Calder Cup championship.
General manager Wendell Young, assistant general manager Bill Bentley, senior executive vice president Wayne Messmer and senior advisor/director of hockey operations Gene Ubriaco presented Cannone with the award on April 9 in front of more than 10,000 fans at Allstate Arena prior to the Wolves’ 4-3 victory over Grand Rapids.
“I don’t know that I deserve it. I feel like there were a lot of guys that could have won the award,” Cannone said. “It’s a great honor. I know how much Dan meant to the organization and I’m happy to be associated with his name and his work in the community.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of Pat Cannone for receiving this award,” said Courtney Mahoney, the Wolves’ senior vice president of operations who has coordinated the team’s community outreach for 20 years. “It means a lot to the organization and Pat’s tremendous effort this season giving back each and every day to our fans and to the community is something Dan Snyder would have absolutely loved and supported. The honor is truly well-deserved.”
The 29-year-old Bayport, New York, native set the tone for his community efforts during the fall while preparing for his third season in Chicago. He decided the best way to give back was by creating “Pistol’s Pals,” which served as a Chicago Wolves Charities initiative to bring patients and their families to games. At the end of a game night, he presented the patient with a jersey while signing autographs, taking pictures, and offering a locker-room tour whenever the patient was up to it.
At midseason he extended his program to include “Wolves Wish,” which provides special experiences for Wolves fans facing adversity. Game after game, regardless of whether the Wolves won or lost, Cannone chatted with fans and simply spent time with them to give their families something to focus on other than their hardship or illness. There wasn’t a single fan that met him who didn’t walk away feeling special and with a big smile on their face.
“It was pretty neat,” Cannone said. ““I met a lot of good people over the course of the year. Bringing joy to kids and having a conversation with them and seeing them light up was the highlight of my day.”
Cannone also served as the spokesman for several of the team’s fundraising events that benefited Chicago Wolves Charities — including the “Read To Succeed” program that helped thousands of local students and the “Stick It To Breast Cancer” campaign that raised money for A Silver Lining Foundation to provide mammograms for women who cannot afford them.
Cannone joined Shane Harper (2015), Michael Davies (2013, 2014), Darren Haydar (2012), Spencer Machacek (2011), Brett Sterling (2010), Jordan Lavallee (2009), Nathan Oystrick (2008), Brian Sipotz (2007), Karl Stewart (2005, 2006) and Kurtis Foster (2004) on the list of Snyder Award honorees.