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HELMER NAMED GRIFFINS' MAN OF THE YEAR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins are proud to announce that defenseman Bryan Helmer has been named the team’s winner of the American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the West Michigan community during the 2005-06 season.


This season, the veteran introduced the “Helmer’s Heroes” program, for which he purchased six season tickets for donation to DeVos Children’s Hospital. Through his generosity, hospitalized children and their families attend each Griffins home game, sitting in the special “Helmer’s Heroes” section. Afterwards, the children and their family members visit the Griffins’ locker room, where they meet Helmer and his teammates and enjoy a tour of the room. At the end of the visit, the children receive a specially designed Griffins hockey stick purchased by Helmer and autographed by him and his teammates.

In addition, Helmer attended all team community functions this season, including “The Great Skate,” the Griffins versus Sled Wings game at Griff’s IceHouse, promotions at Uno’s Chicago Grill and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, visits to Guiding Light Mission and all booster club-sponsored activities. He visited hospitals and youth hockey practices on several occasions and participates in the Griffins’ Charitable Goals program, in which companies partner with a player to donate money to local charity. Helmer is supported by Priority Mortgage, which donates $50 for every point he scores – a total of $2,650 so far this season – to the Humane Society.

In recognition of his efforts, Helmer will be presented with an etched crystal trophy during an on-ice presentation prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

Helmer is now one of 27 finalists for the AHL’s 2005-06 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced later this month.

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