Chicago Wolves’ Kevin Kacer shares AHL’s Dupre Award
Chicago’s head trainer honored for yeoman’s work during 2021 season
The American Hockey League announced Monday that, in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic, the head athletic trainers from all 31 teams have been selected as the winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award for 2020-21.
The list features the Chicago Wolves’ Kevin Kacer, who has served as the team’s head athletic trainer since 1995. Kacer has worked more than 2,000 games as a trainer in professional hockey and been an important part of all four of the Wolves’ league championship teams.
“Kevin Kacer worked relentlessly to make sure the Wolves were Covid-compliant and our players were safe,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “All medical staff should be applauded because they’re very deserving of the award. They are the reason we had a season!”
Presented annually since 1998, the Yanick Dupre award traditionally acknowledges a player as the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to his local community; in 2020-21, the league is pleased to recognize the athletic training staffs from all 31 organizations.
In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities of looking after the general health of their players – including the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries – these athletic trainers and therapists took on the additional duties of testing, monitoring and administering the AHL’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, allowing the league to operate in a safe and effective manner during the pandemic.
The AHL also acknowledges the assistant athletic trainers, equipment managers and staffs, and team doctors and medical staffs whose tireless efforts contributed to a successful year.
This year’s winners of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award are:
Chad Drown, Bakersfield Condors
Craig Belfer, Belleville Senators
Jon Williams, Binghamton Devils
Josh Sabitsky, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Alex Ambrose, Charlotte Checkers
Kevin Kacer, Chicago Wolves
Tom Bourdon, Cleveland Monsters
Brent Woodside, Colorado Eagles
Josh Chapman, Grand Rapids Griffins
Brian Fairbrother, Hartford Wolf Pack
Todd Richardson, Henderson Silver Knights
Brian Riedel, Hershey Bears
Masayasu Takaiwa and Cole Harding, Iowa Wild
Glen Kinney, Laval Rocket
Brian Grogesky, Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Zach Salmonson, Manitoba Moose
Doug Agnew, Milwaukee Admirals
Jeff Andrews, Ontario Reign
Dustin Stuck, Providence Bruins
Michael Dhesse, Rochester Americans
D.J. Jones, Rockford IceHogs
Ryan Ledwon, San Diego Gulls
Will Leonard, San Jose Barracuda
Koryd Lavimoniere, Springfield Thunderbirds
Bryan Erspamer, Stockton Heat
Brad Chavis, Syracuse Crunch
Mike DeGaetano, Texas Stars
Jordan Aube, Toronto Marlies
Bill Nervig, Tucson Roadrunners
Roman Kaszczij, Utica Comets
Seamus McKelvey, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
The AHL’s annual Man of the Year award is named after the late Yanick Dupre, who passed away in 1997 at the age of 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupre played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and was an AHL All-Star in 1995.
Kevin Kacer, ATC, became the Wolves head athletic trainer in 1995 after being an assistant athletic trainer with the Detroit Pistons from 1993-95. Before that, he served as the head athletic trainer for the Continental Basketball Association’s Fort Wayne Fury (1991-93); the International Hockey League’s Fort Wayne Komets (1990-91); and the National Professional Soccer League’s Fort Wayne Flames (1988-90).
Kacer earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Indianapolis, where he served as the head student trainer from 1983-87. He gained experience as a volunteer trainer at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne from 1983-87 and at the 1986 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
The 54-year-old is a member of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and American College of Sports Medicine.
Kacer and his wife, Jill, have a daughter, Madison, and two sons, Cameron and Nolan, and reside in the western suburbs.
The Wolves are returning to Allstate Arena for the 2021-22 season and already have secured five prime home dates. Wolves fans can purchase “The First Five” Mini-Plan right now to ensure their favorite seats for the games on Oct. 16, Nov. 7, Nov. 13, Jan. 8 and March 6. The first 500 people to purchase a Mini-Plan get to take a professional portrait inside the Wolves’ penalty box. To learn more, click here.
For more information on customized Wolves ticket plans for the 2021-22 season — everything from The First Five to Alpha Wolf season-ticket packages to tailor-made group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
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