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Amerks To Honor Thomas M. Nichols Scholarship Winners April 5th

April 3, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Rochester Americans News Release

(Rochester, NY)... The Rochester Americans announced today that team will honor six local senior high school hockey players during the first-period intermission of the American Hockey League contest between the Amerks and the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday, April 5th at The Blue Cross Arena. Quinn Morrison, Brandon Miner, Brian Kelly, Kyle Mark, Graham Earle and Brent Sanderson have been selected as the 2008-09 Thomas M. Nichols scholarship winners. All six scholarship winners will receive financial aid toward the upcoming school year.

Nichols was a local attorney at Harris Beach who was instrumental in keeping the Amerks in Rochester during the 1970-71 season. He was also part of the ownership group in the early 1970's. Nichols, who was originally from Boston, was an ardent supporter of youth and high school hockey.

The Scholarship winners were selected by a panel of five members of the Thomas M. Nichols fund: Rick Altier, C.J. Rapp, Mike Doyle, former Aquinas head hockey coach Dr. William Stephan and former Amerks player Steve Langdon.

Morrison has been selected as this year's grand-prize winner of the Thomas M. Nichols Scholarship and will receive $1,000 toward college this fall. The Brighton high school senior has been a four-year varsity hockey player since his freshman year and has continued to put forth the utmost effort into the program both on and off of the ice. Morrison served as team captain of the Barons the last two seasons as he has exemplified great leadership through leading by example and his commitment to both his teammates and his community. A role model to the younger players, Morrison volunteers his time with the inner-city hockey program with the Genesee Valley River Cats. Morrison overcame cancer at a young age, and after dropping the puck at the Senior All-Star Game as a youth, he received the opportunity to participate in the game this past month.

Miner, this year's runner-up in the program, will receive $800 in financial aid as he enters his first year of college. The Brockport senior recently completed his last season of high school hockey, serving as the team's assistant captain. A hard-working player who leads by example, Miner relates well with his teammates and has a strong influence on those who look up to him. In addition to his success on the ice, Miner also excels in the classroom and owns the highest grade-point average on the team with a 98 average.

Kelly, one of four finalists to receive $300, is recognized by his teammates and coaches as a prime example of a student-athlete whose hard work and determination has helped him get to where he is today. After playing two seasons of JV hockey to develop his skills, the Pittsford senior earned a spot with the varsity squad and was a vital member of the team up through his senior campaign. When he's not helping the Panthers on the ice, Kelly spends most of his time in the community and remains heavily involved in extracurricular activities. He spends his off-season working the Amerks hockey camps and skating whenever possible. Ever since joining the Pittsford hockey community, Kelly has been the type of player that puts all his effort into everything he does to accomplish his goal. In addition to playing hockey, he also is a varsity lacrosse player.

Mark, who played his last two seasons of high school hockey under former Amerk Craig Charron, captained the Spencerport Rangers his senior season to a 13-7-2 record and played an integral part in the team's success. A player known for his hustle, grit and determination, Mark was an individual who could inspire those around him to raise their effort level and demand a high level of work ethic. A three-sport athlete in varsity soccer, hockey and lacrosse, Mark was a unanimous choice among his teammates for team captain this year and has been an emotional leader, a top scorer and clutch player. He was instrumental in two victories against Aquinas this season, a feat no Ranger hockey team has ever accomplished. Last season, he scored the game-winning overtime goal against Irondequoit - another first for the school record books. He simply outworked the competition and inspired his teammates to do the same.

Earle has spent the past three seasons as a member of the Churchville-Chili Saints hockey program and began his hockey career with the Churchville Flames JV team as a sophomore. A player who gave it 110% each time he took to the ice, Earle pushed himself harder more than any other player in an effort to improve his game. After suffering a broken thumb that sidelined him for the majority of his first season, Earle returned to the ice and worked harder than he ever did to gain a permanent spot with the varsity team. In just his second season, Earle was awarded a roster spot with big club, however two broken bones in his leg he sustained in practice would force him to miss the rest of the season. Earle would go on to have titanium rods inserted into his shin as a result and was questionable if he would ever play again. His commitment and dedication to the game he loved would prevail and Earle made his much anticipated return to the ice this season, setting an example for his teammates that overcoming adversity can be achieved through hard work and commitment. Voted the team's MVP this season, Earle did not record many points in the league, but he did accomplish a goal that can't be measured by any point scale, he earned the respect and encouragement from his team and coaches and influenced them to always try their best regardless of the situation they were in.

Sanderson has been a member of the McQuaid Jesuit Knights hockey program the past two seasons. The younger brother of Blake who was a finalist for this very same scholarship a year ago, Sanderson played the game like no one was bigger than him. His work ethic was second to none and he had the ability to inspire others around him to work harder. Sanderson is a player who always put his team first and his constant positive attitude both on and off the ice was what distinguished from the rest of his teammates. His success is also noticeable in the classroom, currently boasting an 'A' average. He hopes to pursue a degree in Business or Premed at John Carroll University or SUNY Geneseo.


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