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Heritage Society Names 2017 “Unsung Heroes” of High School Hockey

Providence, RI (7/3/2017): Six high school athletes who have distinguished themselves both on and off the ice will be honored as "Unsung Heroes" at the R.I. Reds Heritage Society's 17th annual reunion celebration.

In early 2011, the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society expanded its mission to include the education, recognition, and support of the state’s male and female student-athletes who participate in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s high school hockey program. To address this undertaking the Society initiated its “Unsung Hero Award” Program.

Since its inception the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society has recognized some of the outstanding student-athletes in the state who best exemplify those qualities that combine the athletic, academic, leadership and social traits that are inherent in an ideal student-athlete. This year’s unsung heroes will be honored at the Reds’ 17th annual reunion celebration at Goddard State Park on Sunday, August 6, starting at noon.

Commemorative plaques will be presented to unsung heroes selected in the men’s and women’s divisions of the schoolboy/girl hockey divisions to the outstanding forward, defensemen, and goalies. The honorees have been selected from a list of nominees submitted by the Interscholastic League coaches and chosen by a selection committee comprised of representatives of the coaches association, the officials association, and the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society

In its deliberations the committee focused on those players who best demonstrate the concept of “student athlete.” As such, the committee was not looking for the all-staters or the super stars but rather to those individuals who are the good well-rounded teammates and contributors as demonstrated in the areas of:

  • Academics
  • Sportsmanship
  • Team Play and Support
  • School/Community Support
  • Hardship and Obstacles Overcome
  • Perseverance
  • Leadership
  • Hockey Ability, and
  • Other Intangible Qualities

In essence, this different approach is based on the love and dedication to the game of hockey while still recognizing the values that have to be balanced in order to be a student and an athlete. The awards are named after three of the Providence Reds all-time greats: Chuck Scherza, forward; Ferny Flaman, defenseman; and Gil Mayer, goalie.

Recognized as Unsung Heroes” in the women’s division are goalies Mary Greenwell, Warwick Co-op team, and Liza Farnham of the LaSalle Academy/Moses Brown Co-op team; forward, Erin Drum, Smithfield/Coventry forward; and Kayla Gravel, defense, Burrillville High School.

Unsung heroes in the men’s division for 2017 are: Sean Murphy, goalie, North Smithfield High School; and Jim Varin, forward, Smithfield High School.

This year’s group of heroes exhibit a wide variety of skills and talents.

Liza Farnham has been accepted for early admission to Denison University where she will play lacrosse at the collegiate level. While at LaSalle she also played field hockey and lacrosse.

Jim Varin distinguished himself in almost all of the criteria areas including his perseverance and skills in the classroom, on the ice, and in his community.

North Smithfield’s Sean Murphy unselfishly gave up his position to learn a new one when his team was down to one inexperienced goalie. By the end of his second season he had worked his way to being one off the top goal tenders in his division.

It’s hard enough to play and practice a sport like hockey while trying to balance school and study responsibilities. Mary Greenwell, award recipient, not only did both and did them well, but she did them while playing in the school band, organized a 5K road race to raise funds for a homeless shelter and sending out Veterans Day cards to a long list of vets in the area.

Erin Drumm excels in the classroom in literally every scholastic area. She, like a number of our honorees, is a strong leader, captain, and role model for her teammates, especially the younger players in the program.

Kayla Gravel literally “loves” the game of hockey and lists it as her favorite thing to do. While she is quiet and respected, she studies the game and has outstanding technical skills. Her coach, Courtney Lacey, says that Kayla is built to be a hockey player. She is big, strong, physical and – arguably – the fastest skater in the league who plays the game end to end.

For further information call 401-270-0035 or e-mail UNH1959@aol.com.

R. I. Reds Heritage Society
1 Penrod Avenue, Suite 1111, Riverside, RI 02915
Telephone and Fax: 401-270-0035
email: webmaster@rireds.org

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