Stockton, CA- The Stockton Heat are proud to announce that Matt Taormina has been named the club’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community during the 2018-19 season.
Taormina’s leadership, dedication and commitment to creating a meaningful impact in the community extended the Heat’s presence in the greater Stockton community. Taormina and his wife, Katie, spearheaded several Heat community initiatives, including a team commitment to purchasing gifts for children in need over the Holiday season, through the organization’s participation in the Angel Tree program. Additionally, Matt and Katie delivered presents to the Children’s Home of Stockton prior to Christmas, spending time with kids at their home. Following the Heat’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game, Taormina and his wife assisted the Heat by partnering with the United Way of San Joaquin County to assist in distributing bears to children in need.
As an alternative captain, Taormina prioritizes growing the game of hockey in Northern California. Taormina volunteered his time to develop the new Sled Hockey program at Oak Park Ice Arena in Stockton.
The Warren, Michigan, native led by example both on and off the ice this season. As the oldest player on the team this year, Taormina instilled a strong culture in the dressing room, centered around driving community outreach and building a fanbase in Stockton. Taormina helped organize reading appearances to second and third grade classrooms in the Stockton Unified School District.
This marks the second nomination for the 32-year-old veteran.
From this list of finalists, representatives from IOA/American Specialty and the AHL will choose the winner of the 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award. The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupre, who died in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupre, an AHL All-Star in 1995, played four seasons with the Hershey Bears and also skated in 35 National Hockey League games with the Philadelphia Flyers.