SPRINGFIELD, MA . . . The American Hockey League announced today that Houston Aeros defenseman Travis Roche has been awarded the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the 2001-2002 HG Insurance/K&K Insurance/AHL Man of the Year. The Yanick Dupre Memorial Award is presented annually to an American Hockey League player who has made outstanding commitments to his local community and charitable organizations.
Roche has dedicated countless hours to making a difference in the lives of those throughout his local community, including a significant involvement in a foundation called Kids Unlimited. Established in 1994, The Kids Unlimited Foundation is an all-volunteer organization that works directly with kids with cancer and their families. After meeting with the Board of Directors of Kids Unlimited, Roche pledged to personally donate $100 for every goal, $50 for every assist and $5 for every penalty minute this season to the foundation. When an injury threatened to derail his efforts, Roche decided to sponsor the Aeros’ top scoring defenseman, Curtis Murphy, for the duration of his recovery.
The 23-year-old has appeared on Houston radio and television, promoting Kids Unlimited and inviting others to get involved as well. In early March, the organization showed their gratitude towards Roche as they renamed the game room at their new retreat ranch The Travis Roche Room.
In addition to his work with Kids Unlimited, Roche has participated in numerous school assemblies, teaching the value of teamwork and fair play to students of all ages. He has formed friendships with many of the children and their families, including a three-year-old boy who recently underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. Roche, unable to visit him due to the post-operative quarantine, made a videotaped greeting from himself and his teammates wishing his friend well. Roche has always gone the extra mile to help those in need.
On the ice, Roche totaled 13 goals, 21 assists and 107 PIMs in 60 AHL games. The 6’1”, 190-pound Grand Cache, Alberta native also competed in four NHL games this season with the Minnesota Wild. Roche will be presented with the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award and a check for $500 in an on-ice presentation prior to Game 4 of the Calder Cup 2002 Finals in Chicago.
The Yanick Dupre Memorial Award is named after the late Yanick Dupre who passed away in August 1997 at the age of 24, following a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupre played four seasons with the Hershey Bears, registering 169 points (70 goals, 99 assists) in 207 AHL games. He also played in 35 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers.