Madison Edgewood senior goaltender Shane Ryan is one of four finalists for the Jeff Sauer Award.
The Coach Sauer Foundation announced the finalists Wednesday for the award, which will be presented annually to recognize good high school hockey players being great people.
The first Jeff Sauer Award will be presented Feb. 28 on the eve of the WIAA state hockey tournament, according to a release from the foundation.
The finalists include two boys and two girls from four parts of the state: Edgewood’s Ryan; Russell Albee, a junior goaltender from the Brookfield Stars; Maddie Gibson, a junior forward from the Bay Area Ice Bears; and Baileigh Johnson, a senior forward from Black Rivers Falls co-op.
The annual award hopes to encourage community service among girls and boys high school hockey players in the state of Wisconsin. It is named after the legendary former University of Wisconsin coach and hockey ambassador Jeff Sauer, who passed away in February, 2017.
Here are thumbnail sketches of the finalists:
Russell Albee, a junior goalie for Brookfield: As part of an Eagle Scout project, Albee collected household products for low income senior citizens in the Milwaukee area. His goal was to collect 250 items. He organized his Stars’ hockey teammate to help in the collection and Albee and company ended up with 810 items, 16 percent of which came from his teammates’ work. Albee has a 3.4 grade point average and hopes to complete work on his Eagle Scout project by June. Russell is a student at Brookfield Central. His coach is Greg Copeland.
Maddie Gibson, a junior forward for the Bay Area Ice Bears (Green Bay East co-op): Gibson has worked 200 hours of community service in the Green Bay area, working as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army and volunteering at the Green Bay YMCA, the Bellin Run and Titletown Bike Tour, which benefits the Breast Cancer Family Foundation. Gibson, a three-year member of the student council at Green Bay Southwest, also has spent the last two summers volunteering and overseeing the counselors at Camp u-Nah-Li-Ya, the YMCA camp she has attended for the last nine years. The Ice Bears are a co-op of eight different schools and coach Brandon Erkkila gives Gibson a lot of credit for helping solidify the team. Gibson has three goals this season for the Ice Bears, who were the runners-up at the state tournament last season.
Baileigh Johnson, a senior forward for Black River Falls-Tomah co-op: Johnson is a three-year captain who also competes in cross country and softball. She is a member of the youth group at Calvary Lutheran Church in Neillsville where she has participated in a soup supper to raise money and has taken part in annual mission. Next year she will travel to Houston and help in that city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Baileigh also has worked at the local boys and girls club, been a three-year tutor in math and reading and officiated at local youth hockey and softball games. Johnson, who has a 3.4 grade point average, has seven goals and 13 assists in her senior season and has scored 45 goals in her high school career. Her coach is Oak Moser.
Shane Ryan, a senior goalie from Madison Edgewood: Ryan has completed 230 hours of volunteer service. In the last four years Ryan worked as an umpire and a groundskeeper at the Madison West Side Little League fields. He also created a fundraiser that provided scholarships to give to families that couldn’t afford baseball equipment. Thus far, Shane has raised $10,000 for families at the Little League complex. Ryan has a 4.03 grade point average. As a three-year player at Edgewood, Ryan has a 14-9-1 record with a 2.23 goals against average and an 8.98 save percentage. His coach is Pete Rothering.
The Jeff Sauer Award is modeled after the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to college hockey’s finest citizen and seeks to recognize players, male or female, who contribute to local communities in a true humanitarian spirit.
After retiring from college hockey, Sauer worked extensively with disabled hockey players, He coached the U.S. sled hockey team to a gold medal at the Winter Paralympics in 2014 and in his seven years as coach, Team USA won two gold medals at the Sledge Hockey World Championships. was active. Additionally, Sauer was president of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association.
The Coach Sauer Foundation was very impressed with all the candidates and their stories of student athletes who deserve notice for reasons that ultimately are more important than mere personal statistics.
Madison Ice Arena has agreed to display a replica of the Jeff Sauer Award in its lobby to honor this year’s winner and all future winners. The school from the award winner also will receive a plaque to display.