~ Award presented as part of the Friday Night at the Frozen Four festivities ~
BC sophomore Brooks Dyroff received the 2011 Hockey Humanitarian Award
St. Paul, Minn., and Boston, April 8, 2011—If imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery, then we should all get in line to emulate
Brooks Dyroff. In doing so, not only would we do justice to Dyroff, we
would also dramatically increase the number of underprivileged
students in third-world countries who would be able to go on to
college. Because that's exactly what Dyroff plans to do.
The Boston College sophomore forward has been able to send over 40
Indonesian students to college over the last four years, the result of
a not-for-profit organization called CEO 4 Teens, the brainchild of
Dyroff and Kenny Haisfield, a childhood friend from Boulder, Colo.
For this and many other humanitarian deeds, Dyroff on Friday was
named the 16th recipient of the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey
Humanitarian Award in a ceremony at the Xcel Energy Center in St.
Paul, site of the 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four.
Since its inception in 1996, the Hockey Humanitarian Award has sought
to recognize college hockey student-athletes, Division I or III, male
or female, who give back to their communities in the true humanitarian
Dyroff most certainly is an exemplary model of what the Foundation
seeks to honor.
In Boulder, when he wasn't in the classroom or on the ice, Dyroff
was always looking for someone to help. Along with Haisfield, Dyroff
started working for community food banks, and made lunches for senior
citizens and homeless shelters. "We loved it," Dyroff reflects.
"It was also a tipping point for us. We thought maybe we could put
something together all by ourselves."
Having returned from a family vacation in Indonesia, Haisfield shared
with Dyroff all he had seen: struggling communities of close-knit
families where deserving students were unable to go on to college to
carve a better future for themselves due to lack of funds. After much
introspection, CEO 4 Teens (Creating Educational Opportunities For
Teens) was born. Its immediate goal was straightforward: to award at least
ten college scholarships every year to deserving Indonesian students
who attended Campuhan College in Bali, Indonesia.
"At first, the figure was $600 in tuition per student for one
year, but now it's up to about $1,000, so our goal is to raise at
least $10,000 a year to send ten students to college," says Dyroff,
who played for the AAA Colorado Thunderbirds and at Philips Andover
Academy before arriving at Boston College. "But we don't just ask
for straight out donations; instead we've added a community service
angle. We've asked for pledges in return for community service hours
Impressively, in its four years of existence, CEO 4 Teens has never
failed on meeting its annual goal, and in some years has actually
"Some years it was hard, especially with the general economic
downturn," Dyroff remembers. "But when we made our first trip over
there (during the summer of 2007), we took a lot of video and used it
to thank our donors and show them how their money was seriously
changing lives." That video, by the way, became a movie called "A
Drop in the Bucket," which won six short documentary awards all over
Dyroff and Haisfield have made two trips together to Indonesia to
interview scholarship nominees. When prospective students were asked
several qualifying questions, including "What is happiness to
you?" almost every response included food on the table, family and
friends. When each of the recipients was told of their success, most
of them – and their families – cried with the knowledge of the
changes this would mean to their lives: as individuals, families and
as villages. Dyroff and Haisfield cried as well.
As with the kids he's helped, nothing has come easy for Dyroff. He
was a recruited walk-on to BC. Paying for school has been a challenge,
and he has fought hard for his opportunities on ice. A parallel to his
humanitarian works? In so many ways, yes.
"I'm trying to work my way up, just like the kids we're trying
to help," says Dyroff, a Hockey East All Academic Team member in
2009-2010. "Many of them are last in the pecking order and don't
have much of anything. Meeting these kids has been so helpful to me,
and I want to make the most of the opportunity to make life easier for
He may not play every game, but Boston College head coach Jerry York
says Dyroff makes a difference every day.
"When we were recruiting Chris Kreider from Andover, their coach
(Dean Boylan) told me to take a look at Brooks," York remembers.
"He said he would help our team in all different aspects, both on
the ice and away from the rink, and he has more than done that. He
brings an intangible to our team and embodies all we want from our
student-athletes. We took a chance on Brooks," York continues,
"and he's been very conscious of not only being a better hockey
player, but being an example to others. He has a certain charisma, and
he is more than deserving of this award."
Off the ice, Dyroff's efforts aren't entirely exclusive to
Indonesia, as he's worked diligently to create similar programs here
on his home soil. Using the CEO 4 Teens model, he's building a
program at nearby Roxbury, Mass., Community College to help
underprivileged high school students obtain their GED's. Last year,
at about $400 per person in cost, he helped three kids sit for the GED
exam, and just like in Indonesia, his goal is to assist at least ten
young men and women per year.
Also while at Boston College, Dyroff established a local version of
Mathletes, an after school math enrichment program. Additionally, he
has launched a Micro Finance Program which offers grants to students
looking to launch a business, or to help them offset local commuting
costs. For this, he created yet another film documentary called
"Change for Change," which won awards in the United States, Canada
and the United Kingdom.
Be it East or West, domestic or overseas, Dyroff has left an impact
everywhere he's been.
"I have never been around a young man that wanted to help others as
much as Brooks," says Angelo Ricci, a former University of Denver
forward and Dyroff's midget minor coach back home. "His focus on
helping others and attention to detail is something I will always
remember about him. He would sacrifice anything on or off the ice to
help a teammate, friend or person he just met. To find such a quality
is so unique, it just captivates you as a coach and human being."
Dyroff is the second Hockey Humanitarian recipient to come from
Boston College, following Sarah Carlson, who received the award in
2005. Yet for all he's accomplished, Dyroff feels the past isn't
nearly as important as the future.