The Ontario Hockey League today announced April 22 that forward Chris Terry of the Plymouth Whalers is the recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy as the OHL’s Humanitarian of the Year for the 2008-09 season.
Terry, a 20-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, has consistently been a leader for the Whalers franchise at events in the Plymouth community and surrounding area throughout his career. This season, the fourth-year veteran and team captain averaged more than two official player appearances per week, always demonstrating a positive attitude and serving as a role model for many young fans.
“I love going out to schools to read and interact with the kids” said Terry. “I never felt obligated to do it, I just really enjoyed seeing their excitement when we would arrive, it was always a lot of fun” added Terry. “It has been exciting to see our fan base in Plymouth grow by reaching the community in the years I have been here and I have a lot of great memories, I always enjoyed what we did.”
Terry spent a great deal of time visiting schools and reading to kids. He was active in the Whalers Learn to Skate and Learn to Play programs and always heavily involved and enthusiastic in events with season ticket holders and their families. He is always the first to sign up for events and to volunteer his time on days off. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this past October, Terry was the first Whaler to volunteer to dye his hair pink which led to the entire team participating. Together they helped raise money for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Terry’s professional conduct, leadership, and willingness to give back to the community certainly made impressions with his teammates who have learned from his actions, including Ryan Hayes. “Terry just takes over at these appearances and does all the work and I just follow his lead” said Hayes. “I need to give him credit; he just makes it look easy.”
“You can tell he genuinely cares when he is out in the community” says Natalie Shaver of the Whalers. “He wants to have a positive affect on everyone and takes the extra step to ensure everyone is included. People request him because of the relationships he builds with the kids” added Shaver.
Last season, Terry developed a special relationship with one of his young fans, Bobby Suvoy, a 16-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with ALS which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He spent time visiting with Bobby and checking in with the family for updates on his health even when the team was on the road. When Bobby’s health took a turn for the worse, Terry visited the Suvoy home early in the morning following a team road-trip where they arrived in Plymouth around 5:00 am. Terry was able to spend a few hours with Bobby and sign a jersey in front of Suvoy’s relatives that had travelled from across the country to be there. When Bobby Suvoy passed away on May 6, 2008, many people thanked Terry for the positive influence and contributions he made towards Bobby’s life.
The Suvoy’s have said that Terry is “so selfless and caring to take time out of his exciting and busy schedule to stay in touch with our sick child. Chris remains a true friend even today.”
On the ice, Terry finished second in league scoring with 94 points including 39 goals and 55 assists in 53 games. He was named a Western Conference All-Star and the Kal Tire OHL Player of the Month for both December and February. Terry is a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick, selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Each year the OHL awards a player that has demonstrated outstanding qualities as a positive role model in the community with the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy. The Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors announced in 2004 that the OHL Humanitarian of the Year award would be renamed in recognition of the former Owen Sound Platers captain, who was twice named his team's humanitarian of the year in recognition of his tremendous efforts in supporting community activities.
Terry is the first member of the Plymouth Whalers hockey club to receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award.