Tom McCollum Named Griffins' 2017-18 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins are proud to announce that Tom McCollum has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Grand Rapids community during the 2017-18 season.
McCollum is Grand Rapids’ only four-time Man of the Year nominee. Now in his eighth season as a Griffin, McCollum rejoined the club after spending the 2016-17 campaign in the Calgary Flames organization and has picked up where he left off with his commitment and service to the community.
To begin the season, McCollum partnered with Flagstar Bank to purchase four season tickets for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids. He often hosts and entertains kids from the Boys & Girls Club following home games and is a monthly visitor to all three club locations in Grand Rapids.
For the fourth time in his career, the 28-year-old goaltender hosted – with help from goaltender development coach Brian Mahoney-Wilson – a free two-hour clinic during a Sunday in February for a number of aspiring netminders in the Griffins Youth Foundation.
This season, every save made by McCollum, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in saves, has been put to good use. He donates $1 for every save to the National Stroke Association in honor of his father, a recent stroke survivor. McCollum also teams up with the Carlin Group to contribute $1 for every save to Kids’ Food Basket, a local organization that provides sack suppers to needy schoolchildren each week day.
A native of Sanborn, N.Y., McCollum’s positive impact in Grand Rapids also includes visiting patients at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; assisting with a Habitat for Humanity build that benefited a U.S. Air Force veteran; packing sack suppers for Kids’ Food Basket; attending and assisting with youth hockey practices in the area; ringing the bells for Salvation Army; and going Christmas shopping with three kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs as part of the Griffins’ “Power Play” program with Meijer.
McCollum has participated in all of the franchise’s charitable events this year, which comprises the Tip-A-Griffin fundraiser for the Griffins Youth Foundation; skating and interacting with fans at the Great Skate Winterfest to raise funds for the Youth Foundation; taking part in the annual sled hockey game with the Grand Rapids Sled Wings; and serving beverages at the Hockey, Hops and Hope event for Easterseals Michigan.
McCollum’s unselfishness and willingness to go above and beyond for others made national headlines earlier in the season when he loaned his truck to then-Milwaukee Admiral Pierre-Cedric Labrie, who was in desperate need of a ride back to Milwaukee to witness the birth of his first child. When Labrie’s wife went into labor during the early morning hours before Grand Rapids and Milwaukee’s matchup on Dec. 31, McCollum arranged – while traveling on the bus back from the Griffins’ game at Cleveland – for Labrie to get his keys, which enabled him to drive back to Milwaukee amidst a heavy snowstorm just in time to see the birth of his first child.
McCollum is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2017-18 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league 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.