Kyle Hagel is the Hamilton Bulldogs IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Hamilton community during the 2012-13 American Hockey League season.
A native of Hamilton, Hagel started a Stick to Reading program for two schools in his hometown. He and other Bulldogs’ players, made numerous visits to Hess Street School and St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School to promote literacy and encourage the elementary school students to read. In addition, Hagel created a contest to reward the students in each class who read the most books within a six-week time frame with prizes including the opportunity to play in a ball hockey game with the team, a chance to tour the team’s dressing room, meet-and-greets with Hamilton players and free tickets to Bulldogs games.
Hagel also participated in many team events throughout the season such as a team visit to 8 Wing/CFB Trenton which included a community skate at RCAF Flyers Arena, the McMaster Children’s Hospital visit, several community practices and skates with minor hockey teams in the area, and the Bowling with the ‘Dogs event.
Hagel graduated with a degree in Political Science from Princeton University and always reminds the students that even though he is a hockey player, he still found time to study and get through school. He hopes to continue to encourage students to keep reading as it is an important aspect in school and in life.
Hagel is now one of 30 finalists for this season’s AHL 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 on Apr. 18.
The Hamilton Bulldogs have had two previous winners of the award, Mike Minard in 1999-2000 and Duncan Milroy in 2004-05.
The Bulldogs’ next game is against the Lake Erie Monsters at Copps Coliseum on Friday (April 12) at 7:30 p.m.