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Wolves' Kurtis Foster named AHL Man of the Year

June 3, 2004 - American Hockey League (AHL) News Release

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced that Kurtis Foster of the Chicago Wolves has been selected the winner of the Yanick Dupré Memorial Award as the 2003-04 American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year. The award is presented annually to an AHL player for his outstanding contributions to his local community and charitable organizations.

Foster, 22, has been a vital member of the Wolves organization both on and off the ice over the past three seasons. His dedication and enthusiasm in aiding the club’s community relations efforts are of tremendous value to the children and the families that he reaches. The Wolves’ commitment to the Chicago-area community is a top priority with the organization, and without hesitation, Foster has stepped up and participated in countless community endeavors with complete devotion.

In 2003-04, Foster was a spokesman (for the second consecutive season) for the Wolves’ most successful educational initiative, their Read to Succeed incentive program that reaches nearly 300,000 schoolchildren and more than 100 libraries throughout the Chicago area. As a professional athlete who puts education as a high priority, Foster motivates the students and shows them the importance of using their minds to reach their own goals and dreams.

Foster worked with the Animal Care and Control Center in the Adopt-a-Dog program, then created Kurtis’s Kanines, rewarding fans who adopted a pet with an autographed photo and posting pictures on the Wolves’ Web site of dogs in need of homes. Because of his efforts, more than 250 dogs have been adopted through the program.

Foster’s generosity also sparked a record number of donations as he volunteered to have lunch with a fan as part of the Wolves’ annual Toys for Tots holiday drive. He organized a used-equipment drive to help aspiring hockey players in Chicago’s inner city, and also formed Kurtis’s Kids, a program allowing underprivileged families and children the opportunity to attend a Wolves game as Foster’s guest.

Foster’s community participation has also involved serving as a pen pal to students at a local elementary school, delivering groceries to fans’ homes, visiting hospitals and inviting patients to Wolves games, and raising money for the Lupus Foundation for his production on the ice, where the 2003 AHL All-Star defenseman from Carp, Ont., tallied 11 goals and 19 assists in 67 regular-season games for the Wolves in 2003-04.

The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupré, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupré played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, and participated in the 1995 AHL All-Star Game. Previous winners of the award include John Jakopin (1998), Brent Thompson (1999), Mike Minard (2000, 2001), Travis Roche (2002) and Jimmy Roy (2003).

Foster will be presented with the Yanick Dupré Award and a check for $500 on Sunday evening, in an on-ice presentation prior to Game 4 of the Calder Cup 2004 Final in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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