Massachusetts Hockey is excited to announce our 2022 Sportsmanship Award Recipients.
Kevin Birenbaum (Norfolk, Mass.), Liam Doherty (Winchester, Mass.), Shea Donovan (Milton, Mass.), Leo Laguerre (Ludlow, Mass.), Faith Mancini (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Jack Perry (Waltham, Mass.) Tatiana Stanton (Needham, Mass.) and Anthony White (Melrose, Mass.). All eight of our recipients were chosen among an exceptional group of applicants.
Each recipient will be receiving a $1,250 stipend to put towards their education costs.
The Sportsmanship Award has been able to honor and spotlight many Massachusetts Hockey players who celebrate the principles of good sportsmanship epitomized by the spirit of respect, dignity, courtesy, responsible behavior and fair play, not only in sports, but in all of life’s endeavors.
Read more below about each recipient and their future plans.
Kevin Birernbaum, from Norfolk, graduated this past spring from King Philip High School. Kevin is currently studying at The College the of Holy Cross.
In addition to Kevin’s athletic accomplishments, Kevin is an honor roll student, a peer mentor, and an elected student council representative.
Paul Carlow, Head Hockey Coach at King Philip School said “ [Kevin] knows true leadership must always be by example. He’s always on time and plays at full speed whether it’s a practice or a game. He’s an honest player that plays the game the right way. He’s always positive no matter what the score was…He is a student athlete who understands that he represents his family, school, and community when he’s on the ice.”
“I was voted captain after my junior season and one crucial thing I did to impact the hockey program's spirit and success was to organize and help run the hockey gut-check. Gut check is a conditioning/weightlifting program that is held at the high school three early mornings a week throughout the summer…However, sportsmanship does not stop when I leave the rink or the gym,” said Kevin in his application essay. Along with his athletic accomplishments, Kevin was also elected as a student council representative, a board member of various community service clubs at his school and was appointed student leader of the student spirit section of his high school’s sporting events.
Liam Doherty, from Winchester, graduated this past spring from Winchester High School. Liam is currently studying at Connecticut College.
Liam was a three sport athlete at Winchester High School, making the Varsity Golf, Hockey, Lacrosse teams his freshman year. Liam has also been named a Middlesex League All-Conference and ML All-Star in hockey and lacrosse and was awarded 2022 Hobey Baker Character Award this past hockey season
Liam’s Varsity Hockey Coach at Winchester High School, Gino Khachadourian, describes Liam as a “goal oriented, dedicated and self-motivated individual who has an outstanding work ethic.” Khachadourian also states that “[Liam] had the utmost respect for game officials, as well as members of the opposing team. He is a tremendous leader, and understands the importance of leading by example. By respecting the rules of the game, Liam set the bar high for his teammates, who highly respected him.”
“I learned quickly at Winchester High School my freshman year…that sportsmanship was just as crucial as my athletic abilities. At WHS, teams are a brotherhood. I was taught what it meant to be a good teammate and eventually a good leader, knowing that every great team has plenty of both,” said Liam in his application essay.
Shea Donovan, from Milton, graduated this past spring from Milton High School. Shea is currently studying at Salve Regina University, majoring in Business Administration.
Baseball and hockey have both been a huge part of Shea’s life. In addition to playing on his varsity hockey team for four years, Shea works at youth hockey clinics, referees youth hockey games and volunteers his time to coach youth baseball.
Shea’s Varsity Ice Hockey Coach at Milton High School, Christopher Watson, said “Shea was the recipient of the team's sportsmanship award this season because of these traits. They respected how he played and conducted himself both on and off the ice.”
“One goal that I aspired to reach while playing sports was to be a leader of my team, and I feel that sportsmanship is the most important quality that a leader should possess. In this regard, I would take it upon myself to keep our team's spirits high whether we were winning or losing, and to treat the opposing team with respect while still playing competitively… My devotion to the sports community has extended beyond just playing. When I was 13 years old I decided to become a hockey referee, even though I knew this could be challenging. But, I also felt that this would help me learn the game better, and more importantly, I would be able to help younger players (the future of sports) learn and develop, while promoting good sportsmanship during games.” said Shea in his application essay.
Leo Laguerre, from Ludlow, graduated this past spring from Ludlow High School. Leo is currently studying at Northeastern University with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. Leo is also working as part of the ice crew for Northeastern's men's and women's hockey games.
Leo has found success in the classroom and in his extracurricular activities. Leo has achieved honors and has taken all AP level courses. Leo has also volunteered for numerous organizations, been a board member on his student council and the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper
David Tassinari, the Director of Coaching at Ludlow High School explains that whatever Leo decides to do, he will make it happen. “He is relentless in pursuit of his goals. Many have drive and determination, but to combine that with sportsmanship, a propensity for fair play, and honesty is what sets Leo apart from his contemporaries.”
Something that makes Leo stand apart is being a first-generation hockey player. Leo was able to become a varsity hockey player where he “learned valuable lessons about sportsmanship that I was able to pass on to my younger brother” as stated in his application essay. Leo further explains the meaning of sportsmanship to him: “the game of hockey has taught me that it is just that; a game. There are more important things in life, like being a good and respectful person. On that day, I was able to demonstrate good sportsmanship and represent myself, my team, and my sport in a positive manner.”
Faith Mancini, from Shrewsbury, graduated this past spring from Worcester Academy. Faith is currently studying at Colby College and planning to major in Biology and Government on the pre-med track.
Faith played and was captain of three varsity sports in her time at Worcester Academy, soccer, ice hockey and softball, even earning a varsity letter in 8th grade, playing for her varsity softball team.
Faith’s teachers comment frequently on her strong work ethic, her willingness to grow/learn and her ability to collaborate with teachers and fellow classmates. Kevin Zifak, Faith’s coach explains that “in her time at Worcester Academy, she has been selected for many leadership positions, including class officer, student pillars and as a junior member of the Board of Monitors, which is our highest group of student leaders that connects our head of school and leadership team to the student body. …helped create student events throughout the school year to help rebuild a sense of community that was lost during covid.”
“Although there were times in my career where I didn’t start, or I wasn’t the leading goal scorer, I was always the person who respected and cheered on my teammates on their achievements. This year I received the Robert J. Delahanty prize, which is “given annually to the Worcester Academy student displaying the best sportsmanship in athletic competition during the year”. This esteemed award is voted on by all athletic coaches, showing that not only my own coaches acknowledge my sportsmanship, but also other coaches as well,” said Faith in her application essay.
Jack Perry, from Waltham, graduated this past spring from Waltham High School. Jack is currently studying at Boston University and is part of the 6-year Physical Therapy Program at Sargent College.
Jack played on Waltham High School’s Varsity Hockey and Lacrosse Teams for four years and was a captain for both.
John Maguire, Varsity Hockey Coach at Waltham High School explained that “Jack excelled in this role in the locker room, on the ice and in the community. Jack was always the first person to help any teammate, especially a younger teammate through any problem. Jack was a tremendous role model for his teammates especially in the classroom. Jack was recently chosen to be one of 5 players statewide as a member of the prestigious Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association All Academic team.”
Today, my sportsmanship is something that I take pride in and reflects how I want to be remembered as an athlete and person. After being a four-year varsity starter in both hockey and lacrosse, I look back and remember the many memories I created with my teammates…at the end of my high school athletic career, I want my teammates to remember me as their Captain and as a caring person who led by example and demonstrated pure love for the games we played together, said Jack in his application essay.
Tatiana Stanton, from Needham, graduated this past spring from Ursuline Academy. Tatiana is currently studying at Fairfield University.
Tatiana has also been awarded with the Waltham Youth Hockey Sportsmanship Award in 2011-2012, the Award of Excellence from Ursuline Academy in both her junior and senior years, as well as being voted captain of her high school team senior year. This year, Tatiana was also selected as a recipient of the Boston Bruins MIAA Sportsmanship Award and the 2022 Hobey Baker High School Character Award.
Tatiana has been described as a natural leader by April Bruenelle, Varsity Field Hockey Coach at Ursuline Academy. “I can honestly say that Tatiana is one of the most kind, hardworking, and caring teammates one can have. In Tatiana’s junior year, her varsity season was essentially taken away due to the pandemic. This was very hard for her and her team, but she showed up with a smile and a hard work ethic daily.”
“I was only 8 years old when I received my first sportsmanship award, I did not really understand the concept behind it but I knew it was important. Since that day the values of fair play, kindness, and respect have played a large role in my life and has dictated my decisions and how I act. Hockey has played a major role in the development of my character and outlook on life. It has taught me that winning, although fun, is not always the most important thing.”
Anthony White, from Melrose, graduated this past spring from Melrose High School. Anthony is currently studying Finance at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Management.
Anthony was also a member of the National Honors Society, volunteered at House Families through tutoring lower-income students and has been a great leader in his community.
Kevin Fessette, High School Physical Education/Health Teacher at Melrose High School explains that “Anthony demonstrated all the characteristics a coach could ask for; he leads by example on and off the ice. As one of my hockey players, his work ethic and team first mentality allowed us to play the game the right way and represent the school, making many people proud.I sincerely wish all my athletes displayed the same high level of sportsmanship and character as Anthony."
“I met many new, younger players who were just entering high school as I was going into my final season. I attempted to take a leadership role on this team, giving advice to younger teammates along the way and offering support whenever it was needed… I feel as if I was really able to change approach to anger on the ice and his understanding of what it means to be a good sport to fellow players and opponents,” says Anthony in his application essay.