Fred Nelson, Hockey Director at Aliso Viejo Ice Palace, was named the 2010 Anaheim Ducks Local Hockey Hero and will be honored before tonight's game against the Oilers at Honda Center.
As part of USA Hockey's
Hockey Weekend Across America, the Anaheim Ducks
spent the month of January searching for a local hockey hero, someone who has gone above and beyond to give back to their community through hockey.
After the judging panel sifted through the numerous nominations, all of whom have done a tremendous amount to give back to hockey in California, Nelson
stood out above the rest.
Nominated by Kelly Olischefski, who has three children playing hockey at the rink, Nelson
is a man who has been instrumental in promoting youth hockey in Southern California over the past 20 years.
, who played college hockey at Minot State University
, won the All-American Award there in 1981 and 1982 and had his
jersey retired in the college's sports Hall of Fame.
He moved to California in 1988 and became the hockey director at the Ice Capades Chalet in Costa Mesa before moving on to hockey director at Aliso Viejo Ice Palace in 1993.
is known for his
emphasis on learning the fundamentals and having fun while doing so, not just winning.
knows every child who plays at the rink and their families by name and is a friend to all.
encourages youngsters who are considering playing hockey to try it out, while often letting them borrow equipment and take a few sessions for free to make sure they enjoy it before their parents invest the money.
Olischefski, who put together a 10-page nomination for Nelson
, emailed a few people to ask for their input on why he
deserved this award.
gave them two days' notice, and was blown away when she
received 13 emails back on Nelson's behalf, as her
original email was forwarded around to those Nelson had impacted.
The following are some of the sentiments expressed in those emails that validate why Nelson
was named the 2010 Anaheim Ducks Local Hockey Hero.
is all about kids playing hockey, period.
Not club hockey.
Not winning games.
Not having the coolest gear or the latest training...just playing hockey for the pure love of the game.
sees in every boy or girl a chance to pass along his
love of the sport and truly wants to see more kids having fun and playing.
- Father of a player at Aliso Viejo
"I give much thanks to Fred Nelson
for being a very big influence in life, both as a hockey player and now as a man." - Former player who received a full scholarship to play hockey at St. Cloud State
sees only a little excitement in a kid's eyes, he's
quick to come up with a pair of hand-me-down skates and other gear, just to get the kid on the ice and let him/her really see how much fun hockey is.
I can only wonder how many hockey careers Fred
started this way.
- Southern California youth hockey coach
heart and soul into youth hockey" - Father of a player at Aliso Viejo
is much more than a hockey director.
has assisted us in raising our kids and thousands of other Southern California kids to not only be fine hockey players but, much more importantly, fine young men and women.
- Father of a former player who received a full scholarship to play hockey at University of Nebraska, Omaha
"In 2008, I deployed to Iraq for an entire year and Fred
was there to assist my family as they endured the hardships and stresses of the separation, and he
still kept my son active and developing in hockey.
truly is a hero on the home front for hockey players and families.
- Father of a player at Aliso Viejo
"Despite the wealth of hockey knowledge I learned from Fred
, the most important thing Fred
has given me is a prime example of how to carry myself off the ice.
coach who started his
coaching career under Fred
During tonight's game, Nelson
will be presented with the 2010 Anaheim Ducks Local Hockey Hero Award and a framed USA Hockey Olympic jersey signed by Bobby Ryan.
After the game, Nelson
will get to meet Ryan.
Congratulations to Fred Nelson
for being a hero to so many people in the Southern California hockey community.