The Western Hockey League announced today that Portland Winterhawks forward Jake Gricius has been named the WHL Western Conference Humanitarian of the Year and nominee for the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy (WHL Humanitarian of the Year) presented by Kia.
Gricius, a 20-year-old product of Colorado Springs, Colo., made valuable use of his final season with the Winterhawks by giving back to the community he’s called home since 2016.
In the summer of 2019, Gricius reached out to an organization called Specialty Ability Training, which is a group of personal trainers who exclusively train individuals with special needs. In coordination with the owner, Ryan Lockard, Gricius organized a team trip to an assisted-living facility where players went on a tour and interacted with clients of the program. Gricius took initiative throughout the process to help integrate players and clients during the visit.
During the season, Gricius also organized for Specialty Athletic Training to attend a Winterhawks game to gain a wider perspective of athletic enrichment. Further strengthening the Winterhawks’ ties to the community, Gricius has promoted positive health and inclusivity within Portland and the hockey community through the partnership.
Gricius’ contributions to the local community have also included educational advancement. Volunteering at William Walker Elementary School, he has helped local students practice their reading, writing, and spelling.
Connecting with youth to provide a positive role model, Gricius has visited the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington, meeting with kid captains from the Winterhawks’ Hockey Challenge program. The program raises funds through a silent auction and charity hockey game featuring top fundraisers as well as Winterhawk alumni.
Gricius can often be found donating his time to other local charities, including the Oregon Food Bank, Friends of Tress, and Union Gospel Mission to help out those in need.
Attending practices and assisting with skill building in Winterhawks Junior Hockey, Gricius has connected with youth through the sport of hockey to provide positive leadership in an athletic setting.
WHL Eastern and Western Conference Humanitarians of the Year are voted upon annually by WHL General Managers and Head Coaches.
The Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy for WHL Humanitarian of the Year is presented annually to the WHL player who helps to enhance the community they play in. The trophy is named in memory of former Regina Pats captain Doug Wickenheiser. Playing three seasons with his hometown Pats, Wickenheiser recorded 352 points (158G-194A) in 207 WHL regular season games. While noted for his skills on the ice, Wickenheiser was often recognized for his caring and generous nature away from the rink. The Doug Wickenheiser Arena in Regina carries on Doug’s spirit of giving to this day.
Winners of the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy / WHL Humanitarian of the Year (since 2000):
2018-19: Will Warm, Edmonton Oil Kings
2017-18: Ty Ronning, Vancouver Giants
2016-17: Tyler Wong, Lethbridge Hurricanes
2015-16: Tyler Wong, Lethbridge Hurricanes
2014-15: Taylor Vickerman, Tri-City Americans
2013-14: Sam Fioretti, Moose Jaw Warriors
2012-13: Cody Sylvester, Calgary Hitmen
2011-12: Taylor Vause, Swift Current Broncos
2010-11: Spencer Edwards, Moose Jaw Warriors
2009-10: Matt Fraser, Kootenay ICE
2008-09: Taylor Procyshen, Tri-City Americans
2007-08: Ashton Hewson, Prince Albert Raiders
2006-07: Kyle Moir, Swift Current Broncos
2005-06: Wacey Rabbit, Saskatoon Blades
2004-05: Colin Fraser, Red Deer Rebels
2003-04: Braydon Coburn, Portland Winterhawks
2002-03: Ryan Craig, Brandon Wheat Kings
2001-02: Brandin Cote, Spokane Chiefs
2000-01: Jim Vandermeer, Red Deer Rebels
1999-00: Chris Nielsen, Calgary Hitmen
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.