The North American Hockey League announced today that Mahoning Valley Phantoms forward Johnny Meo has been named the recipient of this year’s Community Service Award.
In his third year with the Phantoms, Meo, from Vernon Hills, Ill., has been actively involved in a number of community service initiatives over the course of his junior career, including “Phantoms Hockey for Health” and “Read with the Phantoms.”
“Johnny works just as hard off the ice as he does on it,” said Phantoms head coach Bob Mainhardt. “Anything we ever need a player to volunteer for, he's the first guy in line. He's done more work to be involved in the community than any other player in each of his three years here."
And instructor for “Little Phantoms Learn to Play Hockey,” the 21-year-old has also participated in special needs on-ice groups, the United Way Day of Caring, Red Cross Disaster Relief, YMCA Run For the Cure, Rich Center for Autism and the Boy Scouts.
In addition, Meo has lent a helping hand with local events such as Boardman (Ohio) Oktoberfest, the Poland (Ohio) Rotary's Chili Open, Boardman’s YMCA “Equalizer" Race and various Relay for Life events in the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s definitely important for us to get out there because the Mahoning Valley has been so supportive of us, so we love to go out and make sure that we support everyone in the area just as much,” said Meo.
The NAHL Academic Achievement Award, Coach of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Organization of the Year will be announced in the coming weeks.
The All-NAHL Team, Goaltender of the Year, Defenseman of the Year, Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player will be announced at the Robertson Cup Championship banquet on Monday, April 27.
The North American Hockey League, the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II league boasting 19 teams from across the country, including the esteemed USA Hockey National Team Development Program, prides itself on the social maturity and skill development of student-athletes ages 16-20 with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.