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Zach Metsa Named Amerks' 2023-24 IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year

April 11, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release

(Rochester, NY) - The Rochester Americans are proud to announce that defenseman Zach Metsa has been named the team's winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the year award for his outstanding commitment and contributions to the Rochester community during the 2023-24 season.

Metsa established an immediate connection to the Rochester community, spearheading several of the team's community outreach efforts in his first full season with the Amerks.

After joining the team for its extended playoff run last spring, Metsa made his formal introduction to Amerks fans at the season kick-off party back in October.

A few weeks later, Metsa and the Amerks brought back the ever-popular Reading Power Play Program for its remarkable 18th season. The Amerks Reading Power Play program, presented exclusively by Wendy's, involves players stopping by local libraries, reading to kids and giving a hockey demonstration and allows the kids to learn about the game of hockey and the shows the importance of reading. Through the support of Metsa and his teammates, the four-month program enjoyed its most successful season since its inception with more than 670 participants reading more than 2,000 books.

As the holidays approached, Metsa was among a full-team outing as all 25 Amerks players, in addition to head coach Seth Appert, visited two Rochester-area hospitals in the same day to deliver gifts, visit with patients and help spready holiday cheer.

The Amerks once again partnered with New York's 529 College Savings Plan for another season of the Amerks Jr. Reporter Program and Metsa helped provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to local kids that won the chance to interview him and get a tour of the Amerks locker room afterwards as well as watch an Amerks practice.

Following the new year, Metsa, who captained Quinnipiac University to a NCAA National Championship in 2023, was one of several Amerks to volunteer at Foodlink's distribution center to sort the donated food the team collected during its annual holiday Food Drive in December. A longtime partner of the Amerks, Foodlink is a Rochester-based nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger and building healthier communities by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of food insecurity. The organization serves as the hub of the emergency food system across a 10-county service area. As a leading public health organization, Foodlink administers many programs and initiatives that aim to build the health and wealth of communities.

In February, Metsa led a contingent of Amerks players to Holy Childhood for the first time since the 2019-20 season for the continuation of the annual ball hockey game. For more than 75 years, Holy Childhood, a non-denominational, non-profit agency, has enriched the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Dedicated to serving children and adults in an atmosphere of dignity and compassion, the agency's mission is to prepare people with developmental disabilities for maximum independence and integration in the community through individualized programs and services, in keeping with the philosophy and vision of Holy Childhood's founders.

In the days leading up to Rochester's annual Hometown Heroes game, Metsa was among several players, including those from the Rochester Knighthawks, who delivered coffee and donuts to the Monroe County Sheriff's deputies and first responders.

Currently, Metsa is working with the Professional Hockey Players' Association to bring their Grow with the Pros! Mentor Program to Rochester. The rookie defenseman will serve as the lead instructor for the event, which includes a one-hour skill development session followed by an interactive off-ice panel style discussion. In addition to emphasizing on-ice development, the program also fosters the importance of teamwork, character, sportsmanship while maintaining a positive attitude and love of the game.

One of Metsa's most admirable attributes is his willingness to develop personal relationships with the fans. On game nights when youth teams would sit on bench for warm-ups, Metsa always took it upon himself to greet the kids with a smile and thank them for being such loyal supporters of the team.

In addition to being a true Amerks ambassador both on and off the ice, these are just a few of the many outstanding things Metsa has done consistently to make a difference in the Greater Rochester Community.

Metsa is now one of 32 finalists for the AHL's 2023-24 Yanick Dupré 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 Dupré Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League on later this month.

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