The Stockton Heat are proud to announce that Mark Jankowski has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community during the 2016-17 season.
“Doing as much as I could in the community any way I could was a huge goal of mine coming in to my first season,” Jankowski said. “Hockey in the Central Valley doesn’t have the same following that baseball, football, or basketball have, so I looked at this as an opportunity to help grow the game while bettering our community.”
In just his first full season pro, Jankowski has been one of the biggest contributors to the Heat’s community appearances this season, including leading his team in school visits around the Central Valley.
Most importantly, Jankowski, a college graduate of Providence College, has been commended for his ability to communicate with kids at his various school appearances. He has received a number of compliments from principals, teachers and others for his ability to relate his career path with the importance of staying in school and going to college.
“I spent four years in college and obviously have started my professional career afterwards, so I wanted to use my experience and relay it to the kids in school that hard work and effort can translate into success,” Jankowski said. “Whether it be school, sports, music or anything else that you’re interested in pursuing, having a strong work ethic pays off, and that’s the message I try to convey to the kids.”
In addition to his school visits, Jankowski has helped out at youth hockey practices, helped brighten a Christmas for a student at the one.TLC School, made pizzas at Smack Pie Pizza in Lodi during “Tip-A-Player”, helping raise money for the American Cancer Society, and a number of other events with the Stockton Hockey Booster Club and Heat Season Ticket Members.
Jankowski is now one of 30 finalists for the AHL’s 2016-17 Yanick Dupre 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 Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.