Chicago Wolves rookie forward Bryce Gervais was presented with the 2017 Tim Breslin Unsung Hero Award prior to Sunday’s game against Charlotte at Allstate Arena. The honor recognizes the Wolves player who best exemplifies Breslin’s on-ice spirit, team-first attitude and community involvement.
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, Illinois, native and Driscoll Catholic High School graduate produced 37 goals and 82 assists during his five seasons with the Wolves and helped the team earn the 1998 Turner Cup Championship. Breslin’s family, including his widow, Jami, and their children, Shane, Paige and Chase, participated in the on-ice ceremony for Gervais.
“Bryce is a real good team player,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. “He’s there for the team night-in and night-out. He’s an important guy for us. He brings a lot of energy, a great attitude and great effort all the time.”
The 25-year-old from Battleford, Saskatchewan, has produced 12 goals, 7 assists and a +14 plus/minus rating in 55 games this season while serving as a stalwart on the penalty kill, displaying a selfless attitude and volunteering extensively in the community.
Wolves fans determined the 2017 Breslin Award winner as they cast votes on ChicagoWolves.com for the candidates nominated by the Wolves coaching staff: forward Andrew Agozzino, Gervais, defenseman Reid McNeill and forward Scooter Vaughan. Gervais joined Andre Benoit (2016), 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 players who have earned the honor.
“I was very humbled,” Gervais said. “We’ve got 24 guys in this locker room who could have won that award. I’m very proud to win an award with Tim Breslin’s name on it.”
Sunday’s pregame ceremony also recognized Byron High School senior Maddisen Nelson, who received the Tim Breslin Memorial Scholarship designed to help a college-bound student who has overcome a hardship. Nelson was 7 years old when her mother passed away, yet she stepped forward to help raise her two younger brothers. She will receive a $7,500 grant to help her pursuit of degrees in Business Administration and Public Relations at Monmouth College. She aspires to become a foster parent.