Prior to Sunday’s regular-season finale at Allstate Arena, the Chicago Wolves presented second-year forward Tyler Wong with the 2019 Dan Snyder Man of the Year Award. Wong earned the honor for his dedication to helping people and causes throughout the Chicago area.
One Wolves player receives the 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. During his two seasons with the Wolves, Snyder set the standard for community service with his tireless commitment to local people and charities. He also scored five game-winning goals during the postseason to help the Wolves capture the 2002 Calder Cup championship.
Wong, a 23-year-old forward from Cochrane, Alberta, joined the Wolves in 2017 with a reputation for eagerly donating his time and energy to multiple causes — he twice won the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Humanitarian of the Year Award — and he has maintained his brisk pace with the Wolves while establishing his professional career.
“I was very blessed growing up to have the opportunity to play hockey,” Wong said. “Not everyone gets that chance. My parents (William and Julie) gave me that opportunity and they instilled in me to be humble and to have perspective on where I am — and how I might be able to help other people.”
Never one to waste free time, Wong has been a leading light at every Wolves charity event in addition to spending hours helping Feed My Starving Children and Bernie’s Book Bank. Wong also has made several visits to local libraries as part of the team’s long-running Read to Succeed program. Not only does his voice carry weight when he extols the virtues of recreational reading and the importance of setting and achieving goals, Wong’s personal story of how he ignored others’ doubts about his 5-foot-9 frame to continue to pursue his hockey dreams makes an impact with the children he meets.
“I love doing the library visits,” Wong said. “I think the kids really like to hear about the books I’m reading and it gives me the opportunity to connect with everyone personally. They can ask questions and they don’t have to be nervous.”
Wong joined a sterling list of Snyder Award honorees that includes Scooter Vaughan (2018), Brett Sterling (2010, 2017), Pat Cannone (2016), Shane Harper (2015), Michael Davies (2013, 2014), Darren Haydar (2012), Spencer Machacek (2011), Jordan Lavallee (2009), Nathan Oystrick (2008), Brian Sipotz (2007), Karl Stewart (2005, 2006) and Kurtis Foster (2004). Vaughan and Foster also received the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award that goes to the AHL’s Man of the Year.