The Chicago Wolves are proud to announce Oscar Dansk has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Chicago community during the 2019-20 season.
The 26-year-old goaltender from Stockholm, Sweden, also has earned the Dan Snyder Award that goes to one Wolves player each season in memory of the former Wolves forward, 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 Chicagoans and local charities.
Oscar has done his utmost to emulate Snyder throughout the 2019-20 season, his third with the organization. In addition to maintaining his tradition of being a positive presence at all Wolves fundraisers and community events, he organized half the team for an outing to Ronald McDonald House in downtown Chicago. Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close to their hospitalized loved ones at no cost. Oscar and the rest of the Wolves not only prepared dinner for all of these families one night, they spent the afternoon engaged with the children – playing basketball, signing autographs, working on their TikTok dance moves and more.
But these experiences paled in comparison to the relationship he has built with 17-year-old Angelo, who’s in the process of being adopted by Kurt and Denise Daichendt of Norwood Park to make them a family of nine. Oscar and Angelo met in February at Lurie Children’s Hospital, where Angelo undergoes frequent treatments to fight bone cancer.
Over the course of a month, Oscar hosted the Daichendt family for two Wolves games — Angelo’s first professional sporting events with NBA consensus picks and he visited their home twice. On his first visit, they spent hours talking and playing video games and enjoyed a meal together.
“Oscar was just the nicest guy,” Denise said. “I’ve been with Make-A-Wish for 17 or 18 years and I’ve seen a lot of wishes, but he really took such a sincere interest in Angelo and all of us. It was like he was part of the family. He just fit right in. I looked at my husband and said, ‘I think we found our eighth child!’ I couldn’t believe he came to our house. He went above and above and beyond. We had had such a rough few weeks and it was a great break. He really, really brought a lot of joy for us. We just love him to death.”
Oscar walked out of their home feeling incredibly fortunate.
“Their family certainly inspires me because they’ve done so much and gone through so much that I haven’t,” Oscar said. “It inspires me to look at things differently – but also to help people that deserve it. Their family, we haven’t hung out that much, but they’ve spread so much joy and kindness to me that it certainly makes me feel like I can do that as well.”
Their relationship has inspired Angelo as well.
“I can’t describe how much this has lifted his spirits,” Denise said. “He hasn’t been wanting to do therapy because it’s painful. But he’s been telling me, ‘I’m going to do therapy now! I want to do it!”
Dansk is one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, which honors the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league’s award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.