Tom Conti, Lawrence’s humane hockey star

Tariq Engineer

(Joe Vanden Acker)

Lawrence University hockey captain Tom Conti has been named one of four finalists for the 2002 Hockey Humanitarian Award. The award is presented annually by the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation to college hockey’s finest citizen.The Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation is the brainchild of John Greenhalgh and Jeff Millman, two hockey fathers, who in 1995 thought it was time to honor those athletes who were worthy of the attention and admiration of younger hockey players.

It is part of their mission statement to use this award as a true measure of a person’s worth, not just as an athlete, but as someone who embodies those values that merit public recognition.

“It’s a phenomenal honor for Tom,” Lawrence hockey head coach Dave Ruhly said. “He has truly demonstrated all the ideals that go into this award. This award is Tom Conti.”

Ruhly says his captain’s character, sportsmanship, and play on the ice are an example to the rest of the team and provide building blocks for the Lawrence hockey program.

Conti is and has been a standout in all walks of life. He began his community involvement in 1996, when he started tutoring Vietnamese children, work he continued to do until 1998. During the spring of 1999, Conti helped construct a Habitat for Humanity home. In the same year he began volunteering at the Appleton Boys and Girls club and participated in the Adopt-A-School tutoring program in 1998 and 1999. In addition, Conti was a volunteer youth coach for the Appleton Area Hockey Association during the 2000-01 school year.

A two-sport star in hockey and soccer, Conti was named LU’s Freshman Athlete of the Year in 1999. On the ice, the forward is the school’s career leader in goals (38), assists (36), and points (74). He also holds the single season records for assists (19) and points (29). He is a three-time academic All-Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association selection and has been named to the academic All-Midwest Conference team four times.

In the classroom Conti has accumulated a 3.857 GPA while majoring in math and computer science. He has received a number of academic scholarships, including the sophomore prize for Computer Science and the Iden Charles Champion Cup, given each year for excellence in scholarship, athletic ability, college spirit, and loyalty. Ranked in the top six percent of his class, Conti was also a Rhodes scholarship candidate.

On being one of the finalists for the award, Conti said, “I am still coming to terms with the full extent of the honor. The finalists were selected out of a huge pool (all college hockey players in the United States, both men and women) and I wasn’t really expecting to be selected.”

Ironically, it was Conti’s coach and not Conti himself who filled in and submitted the application. Without his coach’s initiative, Conti might never have received the recognition he so richly deserves.

Conti is joined by Dartmouth College senior Daniel Casella, Buffalo State senior Rocky Reeves, and Union College senior Jeff Wilson on the list of finalists. The winner will be announced on Friday, April 5, in St. Paul, MN, as part of the festivities surrounding the NCAA Division I Frozen Four.

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